The epic action film ‘300' scored number one at the box office in its opening week in the UAE, breaking records for the biggest opening weekend in the emirates this year.
The Warner Bros. Pictures film adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller sold 129,000 tickets in its first 10 days, and is securing its place at the top in theatres for a second weekend.
The historical fantasy film is a fictional account of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. where King Leonidas of Sparta and 300 Spartan soldiers fight to the last man against Persian King Xerxes and his army of over a million soldiers.
‘300' also broke box office records in the U.S., where it grossed $28,106,731 (over AED103 million) on its opening day and ended its North American opening weekend with $70,885,301 (about AED260 million).
As of April 1, ‘300' was projected to make $308 million worldwide box office (including $180 million from the North America).
However, critics have been divided over the film's look and style, as well as over its depiction of the ancient world.
Various critics, experts, journalists, and officials of the Iranian government including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have denounced the film because of its savage depiction of their ancestors.
The film has especially attracted controversy in Iran over its portrayal of the ancient Persians. According to a Time report last month, Tehranis were "outraged" following the film's release, possibly because it coincided with the eve of Persian New Year, "a time when Iranians typically gather in proud celebration...It is not a particularly welcome season to be portrayed as pillaging, deranged savages," Azadeh Moaveni writes.
Iranians also see the Achaemenid Empire - whose kings wrote the world's earliest recorded human rights declaration, now displayed in the United Nations headquarters in New York - as "a particularly noble page in their history."
A Warner Bros. spokesman quoted in Variety last month said: "The film ‘300' is a work of fiction inspired by the Frank Miller graphic novel and loosely based on a historical event. The studio developed this film purely as a fictional work with the sole purpose of entertaining audiences; it is not meant to disparage an ethnicity or culture or make any sort of political statement."