Viral Internet marketing was likely responsible for the astonishing success of Warner Bros.' 300 over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times indicated today (Tuesday). The newspaper observed that the movie, which earned nearly $71 million over the weekend, originally got a big push at last year's Comic-Con convention in San Diego when the movie's visuals excited attendees. Berge Garabedian who runs the fanboy website Joblo, told the newspaper that many websites like his began hyping the movie. "Everybody was talking about it," he said. Warner Bros. then developed a MySpace page for the film, including a feature upgrade on the 300 site that permitted users to store 300 photos on their profile. That "stroke of genius," as the Times referred to the photo ploy, resulted in billions of ad impressions and 8 million viewings of the trailer for the film. 300 went into the record books as the third-biggest opening of an R-rated movie in history (after The Passion Of The Christ and The Matrix Reloaded). It was also the biggest opening of any film debuting in March and he biggest IMAX opening.

The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1 300, Warner Bros., $70,885,301, (New); 2. Wild Hogs, Disney, $27,601,291, 2 Wks. ($77,016,616); 3. Bridge to Terabithia, Disney, $6,779,315, 4 Wks. ($66,934,360); 4. Ghost Rider, Sony, $6,670,463, 4 Wks. ($104,012,146); 5. Zodiac, Paramount, $6,641,870, 2 Wks. ($23,595,973); 6. Norbit, Paramount, $4,278,099, 5 Wks. ($88,295,349); 7 . The Number 23, New Line, $4,082,292, 3 Wks. ($30,233,459); 8. Music and Lyrics, Warner Bros., $3,744,084, 4 Wks. ($43,761,368); 9. Breach, Universal, $2,505,640, 4 Wks. ($29,021,080); 10. Amazing Grace, Goldywn, $2,478,036, 3 Wks. ($11,392,034).