Box Office: 'Need for Speed' Wins Friday, But Braces for Weekend Loss to 'Peabody'
New 3D racing movie Need for Speed may have done a winning lap at the Friday box office, but is expected to be overtaken by holdover Mr. Peabody & Sherman for the weekend in another disappointment for DreamWorks.
Need for Speed, starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, topped Friday's chart with $6.6 million from 3,315 theaters for a domestic debut in the $18 million to $19 million range, well less than expected. DreamWorks and its partner Disney had hoped for $25 million-plus.
The $66 million film, aiming to launch a franchise, could make up ground overseas, where it is likewise making a major push this weekend, including in China. In North America, it earned a B+ CinemaScore. However, reviews were far less kind.
The movie opens at a crucial time for Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider's DreamWorks. The company is at a time of transition, with Snider being wooed for a top job at 20th Century Fox. And DreamWorks is coming off of two box-office misses, The Fifth Estate and Delivery Man.
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 -- looking to propel his Breaking Bad role into a movie career -- 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.
DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox's 3D animated tentpole Peabody grossed $5.6 million from 3,951 locations on its second Friday for a three-day gross of $22 million, pushing the family film's domestic total to $64 million through Sunday.
Warner Bros. and Legendary's sequel 300: Rise of an Empire earned $5.8 million from 3,490 theaters on its second Firday to come in No. 3. Its weekend take is expected to be north of $18 million for a North American cume of $65 million.
After Need for Speed, the weekend's other new nationwide entry is Lionsgate's female-centric Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club, which is proving to be the worst opening of Tyler Perry's prolific feature directing career despite an A- CinemaScore. The comedy earned a meager $3.2 million Friday from 1,896 theaters for a projected $9 million debut, behind the $11.2 million launch of Daddy's Little Girls in February 2007.
Directed and written by Perry, Moms Club stars Nia Long, Amy Smart, Cocoa Brown, Terry Crews, William Levy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Perry.
One film hardly disappointing is Rob Thomas' Veronica Mars, the feature based on the Kristen Bell TV series that was made a reality after a $5.7 million fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. The movie, only playing in 291 theaters in North America, including 265 in the U.S., grossed a stellar $1 million on Friday.
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.
At the specialty box office, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel continued to win over audiences as it expanded into a total of 66 theaters in its second weekend, likewise earning $1 million Friday and pushing its earl domestic total to an impressive $2.2 million.