“300” sequel rules box office with $45.1M bow

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The shirtless warriors of the “300” sequel “Rise of an Empire” ravaged the post-Oscars box-office weekend with a domestic debut of $45.1 million but an even bigger international haul of $87.8 million.

Seven years after the original “300” became an unlikely, ultra-stylish, blood-soaked sensation, Warner Bros.’ 3-D follow-up showed considerable might at the box office. While “300: Rise of an Empire” didn’t come close the North American debut of Zack Snyder’s 2007 original ($70.9 million and without the benefit of 3-D ticket prices), it performed like a blockbuster overseas.

“Rise of an Empire,” which with flexed torsos and R-rated blood further chronicles the ancient battles of the Greeks and Persians, led a busy box-office weekend that also saw an Academy Awards bump for “12 Years a Slave” and one of the highest per-screen averages ever for Wes Anderson’s European caper “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

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