More than seven years after we prepared for glory with Zack Snyder’s 300, the long awaited sequel is on track to take the top spot this weekend at the US box office.

300: Rise Of An Empire took $3.3 million from midnight screenings in the US and is on course for an opening weekend of more than $40 million. On paper that might look like a bit of a disappointment as Snyder’s film grossed over $70 million in its first weekend on release back in 2007. When you take into account that the once pioneering visual style has been overused with the likes of Spartacus and the decline in popularity for swords and sandals movies with Hercules and Pompeii both crashing at the box office, a $40 million opening is pretty respectable.

Zack Snyder had his hands full with Man Of Steel so he passed directing duties to Noam Murro (Smart People) but stayed on to co-write and produce. The story take place before, during and after the events of 300 and features several key characters reprising their roles including Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo . Sullivan Stapleton (star of Cinemax series Strike Back) takes on leading man duties as Themistokles but he has great big Gerard Butler shaped shoes to fill.