Warner Bros’ 300 sequel beat off the competition from DreamWorks Animation’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman, while Fox Searchlight capitalised on 12 Years A Slave’s Oscar glory and scored a massive limited debut on The Grand Budapest Hotel.

300: Rise Of An Empire arrived at number one on an estimated $45.1m and combined with the $87.8m international bow for a $132.9m global debut.

The action film grossed $6.8m on 342 Imax screens for a new March record for an R-rated film and the company’s second biggest R release.

Noam Murro directed Rise Of An Empire and the cast includes Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey and Rodrigo Santoro. 2007’s 300 finished on $210.6m and $456.1m worldwide.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman arrived in second place on $32.5m through Fox in a below-par launch compared to DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, which launched in March 2013 on $43.6m and went on to gross $187.2m.

Rob Minkoff directed Mr. Peabody & Sherman and the key voice cast includes Ty Burrell, Stephen Colbert, Lake Bell, Leslie Mann and Stanley Tucci, Alison Janney and Mel Brooks.

Overall box office for the top 12 reached $130.9m and climbed 21.8% over last weekend and a marginal 2% over the same session in 2013.

12 Years A Slave vaulted nine places to number nine in its 21st week in release through Fox Searchlight after the distributor boosted the theatre count by 654 to 1,065 on the back of the best picture Oscar win.

The drama grossed $2.2m for $53.1m and crossed $100m internationally through Lionsgate International licensees.

Searchlight debuted Wes Anderson’s recent Berlinale opener The Grand Budapest Hotel at number 17 on a mighty $800,000 from four venues.

RADiUS used the best documentary Oscar win to push out 20 Feet From Stardom on 55 prints as the film raised its running total to $4.9m.

Speaking of Academy Award winners, Frozen, owner of the best animation and original song trophies, added $3m for $393.1m in the 16th session and held firm at number eight.

This week’s releases include Need For Speed through Buena Vista and Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club through Lionsgate.

Estimated Top 10 North America Mar 7-9 2014
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) 300: Rise of An Empire (Warner Bros) WBPI $45m –

2 (-) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (DreamWorks Animation-Fox) Fox International $32.5m –

3 (1) Non-Stop (Universal) StudioCanal $15.4m $52.1m

4 (3) The Lego Movie (Warner Bros) WBPI $11m $224.9m

5 (2) Son Of God (Fox) Relativity International $10m $41.5m

6 (5) The Monuments Men (Sony) Fox International $3.1m $70.6m

7 (4) 3 Days To Kill (Relativity-EuropaCorp) Relativity International $3.1m $25.6m

8 (8) Frozen (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $3m $393.1m

9 (18) 12 Years A Slave (Fox Searchlight) Lionsgate International $2.2m $53.1m

10 (10) Ride Along (Universal) UPI $2m $129.9m