‘300’ Slays Evil Puppet, Chris Rock For Another Box-Office Victory

10-day total hits $127 million; 'Dead Silence,' 'I Think I Love My Wife' come up short.

The Top Five

#1 “300” ($31.1 million)
#2 “Wild Hogs” ($18.8 million)
#3 “Premonition” ($18 million)
#4 “Dead Silence” ($7.7 million)
#5 “I Think I Love My Wife” ($5.7 million)

Don’t believe what you saw in “300” — those Spartan warriors aren’t about to die just yet. For the second week in a row, “300” laid waste to the competition, earning a box-office crown King Leonidas himself might be proud to see. Despite dropping a steep 58 percent from its stellar $70.8 opening haul, “300” still managed an impressive $31.1 million take over the weekend. After only 10 days of release, its gross now stands at $127 million — or more than double the film’s reported $60 million budget. Who needs stars when you’ve got stylish bloodletting for 120 unrelenting minutes?

Not to be outdone was the other surprise hit of the season, “Wild Hogs,” which rode past the $100 million barrier in its third week of release. Its $18.8 million take, down only 32 percent from the previous frame, means this one has the strongest legs of any blockbuster to hit since “Night at the Museum.” Clearly in the relatively family-friendly flick’s favor is a dearth of comedic competition at your local multiplex.

Chris Rock might take exception to that comment, but his latest attempt at opening a comedy on his own didn’t do much to dissuade conventional wisdom that he’s not yet a movie star. His adult relationship comedy, “I Think I Love My Wife,” earned $5.7 million in its opening weekend, good enough for only fifth place.

There was better news for Sandra Bullock as her time-twisting thriller “Premonition” nearly caught up with “Wild Hogs.” An $18 million weekend is nothing to cry about, especially considering the generally poor reviews this one garnered. Bullock remains one of a handful of female stars who can open a comedy or a drama in nearly equal measure.

While noise of its debut was not exactly as chillingly quiet as its title promised, “Dead Silence” did little to recapture the magic of the filmmakers’ “Saw” series of films. This evil-puppet film isn’t going to make anyone forget Chucky with its so-so $7.7 million opening, ranking in fourth place.

How’d We Do?

Well, considering celebrity guest prognosticator Sarah Polley insisted she was the worst possible person yet to enter the booth, no one should be surprised that her “Dead Silence” pick came up a tad short (see “Projection Booth: Can A Puppet Steal Box-Office Crown From ’300’?” ). And so, as it often does, it came down to the numbers game between MTV News writer Larry Carroll and myself. In the end, my $32 million guess was a bit closer to the money that Larry’s $38 million prediction. Maybe if that snowstorm hadn’t hit the Northeast it would have been a different story. Alas, we’ll never know.

Prognosticator (weeks won)
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor (12)
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer (7)
Celebrity guests (2)

In Perspective

He’s conquered television and stand-up comedy. He’s even ruled the Oscars for an evening. But there’s something about Chris Rock’s movie career that keeps missing the target. Pair him up with Adam Sandler (“The Longest Yard”) and he’s fine. Use his voice in a big animated flick (“Madagascar”) and its no worries. But starring in a project all his own? It’s been disaster after disaster at the box office as the list below shows (numbers indicate the films’ opening grosses). We’ll even be kind and leave out “Bad Company.” Anthony Hopkins shoulders equal blame for that one.

· “Head of State” (2003) — $13.5 million
· “Pootie Tang” (2001) — $1.5 million
· “Down to Earth” (2001) — $17.2 million
· “Beverly Hills Ninja” (1997) — $12.2 million
· “CB4″ (1993) — $6.1 million

Next Week

OK, stay with us now: There was this cult classic called “The Hills Have Eyes” back in 1977. It was an early flick from Wes Craven. Eight years later, they made a forgettable sequel. Last year they remade the first one without much involvement from Craven (he had a producing credit). Now there’s a sequel to the remake (not a remake of the sequel). Oh, and this one is co-written by Craven. Got it? We’re not sure we do. Figure it all out this Friday.

In addition, there are a trio of odd little flicks vying for your dollar next weekend. Terrence Howard does the inspirational-coach thing in “Pride.” Adam Sandler does the serious-actor thing and has nervous breakdown after nervous breakdown (trust us, it’s not pretty) in “Reign Over Me.” And if you can figure out what “The Last Mimzy” is from the commercials, well then you win the prize of the week.

Check out everything we’ve got on “300,” ” Wild Hogs” and “Premonition”.

Visit Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, reviews, interviews and more.

Want trailers? Visit the Trailer Park for the newest, scariest and funniest coming attractions anywhere.