Cowabunga! 'TMNT' rules

David Hinckley
New York Daily News (MCT)


Director: Kevin Munroe
Cast: Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mako, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, Laurence Fishburne, Ziyi Zhang
MPAA rating: PG
Studio: Warner Bros.
First date: 2007
US Release Date: 2007-03-23 (General release)

All it took to conquer 300 indomitable Spartan warriors was four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"TMNT," the animated green guys' return to the big screen after 14 years in hibernation, scored $25.5 million this weekend to knock the bloody war epic "300" from the top box office position.

The blockbuster "300," adapted from a graphic novel about an ancient battle in which Spartan warriors held off a much larger Persian army, still rang up $20.5 million, running its 17-day total to $162.4 million.

But the Turtles' victory may have been an equally big upset. While the first Turtles' film in 1990 was a big hit, opening with $25.4 million and earning $135.3 million, the third film three years later earned only $42.3 million.

Warner Bros. says this time around the quartet drew about as many older original fans as new and younger fans.

Of the five other new movies opening this weekend, Mark Wahlberg's action drama "Shooter" was the most successful, finishing third with $14.5 million.

"The Last Mimzy" was fifth at $10.2 million, and the horror sequel "The Hills Have Eyes 2" was seventh at $10 million.

The Adam Sandler-Don Cheadle drama "Reign Over Me," about a man who lost his family on 9/11, finished in eighth place with $8 million after drawing a number of rave reviews. The inspirational "Pride," about an inner-city swim team, was ninth with $4 million.

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