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