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Sparta welcomes 'return' of warriors

March 7, 2007 at 7:03 PM

SPARTA, Greece, March 7 (UPI) -- Thousands are expected to turn out Thursday to "welcome home" Leonidas and his warriors to Sparta as the movie "300" opens at theaters around Greece.

In addition, the movie will be shown in Sparta in tandem with an exhibit of Frank Miller's comics, which provided the basis for "300."

"The film '300' isn't a historical movie but an artistic one," exhibition director Panos Papadolias told the Athens News Agency. "If you distinguish this crucial point, then you'll be liberated; if you see (the film) differently, then you'll have several objections."

Anticipation for the Warner Bros. production has been building in the east Mediterranean country for months. Theater complexes reported as many as 15,000 tickets sold for Thursday's debut of the account of Leonidas' last stand before the immense army led by Persian emperor Xerxes at Thermopylae, central Greece, in 480 BC.

In Sparta, officials said they hope the film will spark increased interest and tourism, despite the movie's gore and historical liberties.

The exhibition on Frank Miller graphic novels features stills of his works displayed along a pedestrian way adjacent to Sparta's archeological museum.

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