Box Office: 'Need for Speed' Eyes No. 1 Finish With $25 Million-Plus Debut

6:03 PM PST 03/13/2014 by Pamela McClintock

The performance of the Aaron Paul action pic comes at a crucial time for DreamWorks as Steven Spielberg's partner Stacey Snider contemplates a jump to Fox; "Veronica Mars," Tyler Perry's "Single Mom's Night Out" and "Bad Words" also open.

DreamWorks' franchise hopeful Need for Speed is poised to win the North American box office race this weekend with a debut in the modest $25 million-plus range. The movie is also making a major international push this weekend, including opening in China.

Disney's Touchstone label is releasing and marketing Need for Speed per its deal with Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider's DreamWorks, which has suffered two box office misses in recent months, The Fifth Estate and Delivery Man. Need for Speed is drawing heavy interest among younger males but will have to battle poor reviews.

Starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, the $66 million movie opens during a time of transition for DreamWorks, as speculation intensifies that Snider is in line for a top job at 20th Century Fox under studio chief Jim Gianopulos.

STORY: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Tracking Huge for $80 Million-Plus Debut

Need for Speed, directed by Scott Waugh, is adapted from the wildly popular Electronic Arts game. Paul plays Tobey Marshall, who sets off on a cross-country race to avenge the death of a friend. Imax is carrying the film, which should prove a boost to the bottom line.

The weekend's other new nationwide entry is Lionsgate's female-centric The Single Moms Club, which is projected to open in the $15 million to $20 million range. Directed and written by Tyler Perry, the comedy hopes to draw a diverse audience and stars Nia Long, Amy Smart, Cocoa Brown, Terry Crews, William Levy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Perry.

Another film sure to make headlines this weekend is Rob Thomas' Veronica Mars, the feature based on the Kristin Bell series that was made a reality after a $5.7 million fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. Warner Bros. is opening the well-reviewed film in 291 theaters in North America, including 265 in the U.S. It's also getting a simultaneous online release.

STORY: Fox Eyes DreamWorks' Stacey Snider for Top Creative Job

It is unheard of for a Hollywood studio to open a film in theaters and also make it available to buy or rent online. Warner Bros., however, rented out the theaters, so technically it isn't violating tradition.

Debuting in six theaters in New York and Los Angeles is Jason Bateman's R-rated black comedy Bad Words, which was acquired out of the 2013 Toronto Film Festival by Focus Features. (More recently, it played on the opening night of the SXSW Film Festival.) Focus hopes to draw a younger crowd and has heavily promoted the film on college campuses across the country.

Both directed by and starring Bateman, Bad Words follows a high school dropout (Bateman) who attempts to enter a spelling bee as an adult.

comments powered by Disqus