Box Office: 'Need for Speed' Races out of the Gate Thursday Night With $1.1 Million

Racing out of the gate at 8 p.m. Thursday, Need for Speed racked up a pleasing $1.1 million at the North American box office before the night was done.

From DreamWorks and Disney, the movie stars Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul and should benefit from strong interest among younger males. The $66 million film, which also makes a major international push this weekend, including opening in China, is poised to top the weekend chart with a debut in the $25 million to $30 million range.

The film's Thursday night take was in line with the Tom Cruise sci-fi movie Oblivion ($1.1 million) and the buddy-cop comedy Ride Along ($1.1 million). Nor was it far behind Gravity ($1.4 million).

PHOTOS: Stars Bring Hot Cars to 'Need for Speed' L.A. Premiere

Disney's Touchstone label is releasing and marketing Need for Speed per its deal with Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider's DreamWorks, which could use a win after suffering two box-office misses in recent months, The Fifth Estate and Delivery Man. Need for Speed, however, doesn't appear bound to match the blockbuster strength of the Fast & Furious racing franchise.

Need for Speed, directed by Scott Waugh, is adapted from the wildly popular Electronic Arts game, which has racked up sales in the $4 billion range. 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, although poor reviews could hurt the movie's staying power.

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 Kristen 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.

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.

Veronica Mars scored a pleasing $260,000 from 95 theaters Thursday night, a combination of 17 fan screenings and midnight runs.

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