'300: Rise of an Empire’ Slices Up $3.3 Million Thursday Opening

'300: Rise of an Empire' Slices Up $3.3 Million Thursday Opening

Strong debut for follow-up to graphic novel hit

“300: Rise of an Empire” brought the fanboys out in force on Thursday night, picking up a strong $3.3 million on  3,470 screens.

The bulk of those showings were in 3D, which brings with it a hefty surcharge. The sword and sandals follow-up to 2006's “300” is poised to rack up $40 million this weekend. That's less than the $70 million its predecessor debuted to eight years ago. The first “300” closed out its theatrical run with a $456 million gross globally.

“300: Rise of an Empire” heads off against DreamWorks Animation's “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” which is projected to take in more than $25 million in its debut.

Also read: '300' Sequel's New Shirtless Soldiers: 11 Topless Heroes Who Fought Before Them (Photos)

As the previous film ended in the deaths of scads of Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae, “300: Rise of an Empire” changes up its military heroes. This chapter focuses on a group of Athenians and other allies as they try to deflect the Persian invasion of Greece.

Fret not. The geographic origins of the soldiers may have changes, but the pecs are still glistening.  The film stars Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green and has scored a mediocre 42 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film will roll out in 58 foreign markets this week, including such major markets as Germany, Italy and Russia.  On Wednesday, it debuted in first place in France and Australia.

The film is a co-production of Warner Bros. and Legendary, one of the last remnants of a production deal between the former partners that ended last year. Legendary has entered a new agreement with Universal Pictures.