Just when Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection IMAX (NASDAQ:IMAX) needed a hit, it got one in this weekend's blowout debut of Spartan battle flick 300. Sure, one can argue that Stock Advisor pick Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) was the real winner here. The studio put up a modestly budgeted $65 million theatrical release, and is now walking off the sticky floor multiplex battlefield as a victorious warrior, holding the highest-grossing opening weekend ever in the month of March.

The film raked in an estimated $70 million in screens all around the country. Just $3.4 million of that supposedly came from the 62 IMAX venues that screened the film, but I stand by my conviction that IMAX has more to gain here than Time Warner.

IMAX needed a hit more desperately than big ol' Time Warner. The giant screen exhibitor has shocked investors in recent months -- in a bad way -- with a slowdown of new theater installations, financial hose downs, and a fruitless bidding war that wound up with the company deciding to go it alone.

IMAX cherry picks the flicks that it remasters to send out to its licensed IMAX operators, and the best way to land new installations is to make sure that existing owners are happy with their financial performance. Conventional cinema houses may be applauding the $22,500 average per screen that 300 generated at the box office, but IMAX is the one making even those lucky exhibitors envious. It captured an average of $55,000 per screen with the same film over the weekend.

At this point, installations are important for IMAX; it's currently trying to reach critical mass, with film and licensing revenue eventually becoming a larger part of the revenue mix.

Selling its pricey systems has been tough domestically, and only slightly more successful overseas lately. It doesn't help when you are trying to appeal to traditional chains like Regal (NYSE:RGC) and Carmike (NASDAQ:CKEC), which are being challenged financially as they cope with smaller audiences.

IMAX poses a "bigger than life" promise with its "bigger than life" screens, but sometimes the industry feels like those 300 Spartans battling against a much larger army of couch potato movie buffs who prefer to watch films on their upgraded home theater systems. IMAX did announce a two-screen joint venture with Regal this morning, so maybe it's finally starting to sharpen its weaponry on that front.

So here's to IMAX winning the battle over the weekend. It is the highest-grossing opening weekend ever for IMAX. That record may stand for only two more months, with Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Spider-Man 3 coming out. That should be another battle worth winning. Now if only IMAX can finally win the war and get its stock back out of the penny stock muck, it could prove to be the ultimate warrior.

IMAX was recommended two summers ago to Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers. No, it hasn't gone well, and you can read the original recommendation and have access to all of the growth stock picks with a free trial subscription. Thankfully, the average Rule Breakers pick has beaten the market.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to spot great things early. It's why he's been with The Motley Fool since 1995. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. Time Warner is a Stock Advisor pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy.