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Slow Box-Office Finds ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ In First Place; ‘Need For Speed’ Stalls In 3rd

Box Office
by Rodrigo Perez
March 16, 2014 1:09 PM
3 Comments
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Well, this was unexpected (that is if you’re not attentively looking at Friday and Saturday numbers with a sniper’s eyes). You might think, considering the success of “The Fast & Furious” series, that something similarly adrenaline-focused like the vroom-fast “Need For Speed” film would be critic-proof, and that audiences—who have to wait an extra year for a new ‘Fast & Furious’ film—might check into the junior series starring Aaron Paul. But it was not to be. While Disney was already projecting low (at least low for a would-be car franchise) $20 million numbers for “Need For Speed,” the film (which was roasted by critics; here’s our review) sputtered to the finish line with $17.8 million at the box office, stalling at the number 3 position for its opening weekend debut.

Most would have assumed it would have still taken the number one slot and its presumably lights out for this would-be franchise. But… maybe not. Lowest common denominator tentpoles still do well and even thrive overseas and “Need for Speed” opened to $45.6 million overseas—the kind of opening Fox would have loved for this movie at home (to emphasize: the movie opened bigger in China with $21 million than it did stateside. So much for American pride over American-made muscle cars).

Alas that top slot went to Fox’s “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” which saw decent, but not overly enthusiastic grosses for its debut last week. But as the main toon’er in town (most people have presumably seen “The Lego Movie” by now), kids, and therefore their parents, were still interested. Sporting a total domestic gross of $63 million right now, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” only fell a marginal 34.2%, unexpectedly floated back to the number one slot, and looks like it’ll have longer legs than most expected. Taking a bigger tumble in its second week was "300: Rise of An Empire," which fell almost 60%, but outgrossed "Need For Speed" with $19 million (the 12th highest opening for a video game adaptation, even lower than “Pokemon: The Movie 2000”).

Elsewhere, the box-office was slow and unspectacular all around. 'The Single Moms Club' had the worst opening ever for a movie directed by Tyler Perry with a small $8 million opening. Fallen out of the top 10, "The Monuments Men" (which seemed to have a good hold there for five weeks), "3 Days To Kill" (which is a write-off) and "Ride Along" (which is at $132 million domestically, so it's all good). Still holding strong were “The Lego Movie” (obviously, with $236 million domestically, $372 million worldwide so far), "Son of God" (which should be gone next week) and “Frozen.” The latter animated film dropped out of the top 10 briefly over the weekend for the first time since it was released in November, but ultimately landed in the second-last position with $2.1 million (in fact it’s now spent 16 weeks in the top 10, which ties the record of James Cameron’s “Titanic”). The film is obviously already over $1 billion worldwide and it’s international gross so far is $630.2 million, as it just opened in Japan to nearly another $10 million. “Frozen” has grossed more than both ‘Hobbit’ films globally and will soon shoot past the tally of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Presumably Disney is going to greenlight 10 sequels soon enough.

Perhaps the biggest story at the box-office was the growing success of Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which even outperformed the “Veronica Mars” movie and its loud kickstarter campaign. Only in 66 theaters, Anderson’s eighth feature cracked the top 10 for the eighth slot and scored $3.6 million (for a solid $55K per screen average). The movie has grossed $4.7 million in two weeks and, as one of Anderson’s best reviewed movies in years, presumably that’s only going to rise (though whether the WWII/1930s-set film can go as high as the perhaps more appealing “Moonrise Kingdom” at $45 million domestically seems debatable). But we’ll assume it’ll play to packed houses all spring long.

In the 10th slot and in almost 300 theaters, “The Veronica Mars” movie could only muster $2.02 million. Still $3.7 million to go before it matches the dollars pledged for its Kickstarter campaign. You’d imagine fans would be pretty pissed if it couldn’t make that number domestically. That said, the movie is also out on VOD now, so those mystery numbers and additional theatrical appearances should be to get it there. In limited release, A24's “Enemy,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, got off to a strong start with $18k in one theater and Jason Bateman's “Bad Words” took in 120k from six theaters to nab a an ok 20k per screen average.

01. Mr. Peabody & Sherman – $21,200,000 ($63,180,000)
02. 300: Rise of An Empire – $19,105,000 ($78,311,000)
03. Need for Speed – $17,808,000
04. Non-Stop – $10,615,000 ($68,805,000)
05. Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club – $8,300,000
06. The LEGO Movie – $7,705,000 ($236,932,000)
07. Son of God – $5,400,000 ($50,875,000)
08. The Grand Budapest Hotel – $3,640,000 ($4,779,000)
09. Frozen – $2,117,000 ($396,356,000)
10. Veronica Mars – $2,021,000

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3 Comments

  • swell | March 16, 2014 9:51 PMReply

    The analysis of Veronica Mars is silly... it had the second highest per screen average this week, behind only Anderson's latest limited juggernaut, playing only in wall-in performances at AMC theaters. The VOD numbers you mention should give it a solid bump (they've not been released, obviously, but I've no doubt Rob Thomas will weigh in on those in the next couple of days) and with a modest marketing push, nearly every dollar is profit. If it clears 5 million at the BO, ancillary not included (VOD, cable rights, DVD sales, renewed catalog interest, etc), that's a pretty good showing... a quick perusal of the websites known for its BO analysis arrived at the opposite conclusion and fan buzz is far from "pissed". Thomas, Bell, and WB indicated this weekend that all parties would be interested in sequel talks or a miniseries if Mars turned a profit, which it will.

    There were no expectations of this being massive game changer...

  • swell | March 16, 2014 11:37 PM

    How does that remotely contradict what I said? I'm aware GBH is in 66 theaters, and is killing it in per screen average at $55,152 per screen (following a weekend in which it broke the non-animated record for per screen average... sorry Red State, but the super inflated ticket prices for the traveling road show with Kevin Smith in attendance that holds the actual record was book cooking shenanigans). The second film in the top ten by per screen average this week is Veronica Mars with just shy of $7000 per screen. Wait, I see the problem... you thought I was implying GBH was playing in walled-in showings? I can see how it could be read that way but I meant Veronica Mars was only showing in AMC, which still seems clear when you read everything in context, but sure...

  • No | March 16, 2014 10:46 PM

    "behind only Anderson's latest limited juggernaut, playing only in wall-in performances at AMC theaters"

    The facts (check box office mojo if you like, main url, /weekend/chart/). GBH was in 66 theaters in the U.S. total. Veronica Mars was in 291 theaters in the U.S. in total. That's basically 4.5x more theaters.

    The end.

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