The film, which has no major stars, portrays an epic battle as 300 Spartans hold off hordes of invading Persians in the year 480 BC. The heroes may be underdogs but the movie is not.
"This exceeded everyone's expectations," Variety Editor Timothy Gray told The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman. "I mean, the conservative estimate is that it would do maybe $35 million, tops, was in the $50, maybe $55 million, but $70 million? You can't argue with that kind of success."
It's the kind of success all of Hollywood can cheer. It means the summer blockbuster season is starting early, boosting everyone's fortune.
"Wild Hogs," the John Travolta biker comedy is on schedule to become a $100 million flick. Although it is slowing, Nicolas Cage's "Ghostrider" became this year's first film to top the $100 million mark. But even those huge sums might pale compared to what "300" could rake in.
"It certainly made more money in its opening weekend than the first 'Matrix' did, and the 'Matrix' went on to $200 million, so there's no telling how big this is going to be," Gray said.
Despite scathing reviews which called "300" "balderdash," "stupid" and "overblown, overheated and over the top," the movie is making audiences cheer.
"I thought it was cool," Allen Yeh said. "Yeah, it was pretty good. The action sequences are what I like to call 'sick nasty.' "
"I loved the movie. It was full of passion, excitement," Maobi Armstrong said.