Monday, March 26, 2007

Turtles Make Soup of 300

And so it came to pass that 300 was vanquished by...a bunch of turtles.

TMNT, the CGI-animated restart of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, scored a weekend-best $25.5 million at the box office, Exhibitor Relations Co. estimates said.

After two weekends at number one, the battle-tested 300 slipped to second, with a still-sizeable $20.5 million. All told, the manly man epic has bench-pressed $162.4 million, the year's biggest gross to date.

TMNT's win was big, but not huge. Among animated movies, its opening ranks between 1998's The Rugrats Movie ($27.3 million) and last year's Open Season ($23.6 million), and far, far away from the likes of the Pixar or Shrek movies, per Box Office Mojo stats.

Among previous crime-fighting turtle entries, TMNT's $25.5 million debut was the biggest yet, provided you don't account for inflation. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released back in 1990 when the reptiles were portrayed by people in theme-park costumes, and consumers were sufficiently literate to respond to non-abbreviated titles, opened with an even-more impressive $25.4 million, according to figures from Exhibitor Relations.

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