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Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Need for Speed

Oh Aaron Paul. You know I love you, but “Need For Speed” just didn’t do it for me. Or many other moviegoers, for that matter. The Dreamworks’ film came in third at the box office this weekend with $17.8 million, behind “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” and “300: Rise of an Empire.”

REVIEW: “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”

That’s a far cry from “Speed’s” $66 million budget, however, and it did well overseas, taking in $45.6 million from 40 territories, including a $21.2 million launch in China, for a worldwide start of $63.2 million.

For one thing, I think part of the movie’s target demo — gamers who play the wildly popular Electronic Arts game from which it’s adapted, aren’t moviegoers. They’re home playing the game and probably aren’t all that interested in seeing it on the big screen. At least, that’s been my experience in our house. The 19-year-old gamer and his gamer friends just don’t go to that many movies. But they’re on the computer all the time.

The other demo is probably people like me who loved “Breaking Bad” and just want a chance to see Aaron Paul in something, anything again. And it gave him a chance to stretch his wings a bit and check out life on the big screen. In the film, he plays Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and racer who sets off on a cross-country race to avenge the death of a friend.

Paul has some other films coming up, including “A Long Way Down,” “Exodus,” “Fathers and Daughters,” and “Triple Nine.” We’ll see how things go for him from here.

Dave Hollis, distribution chief for Disney, DreamWorks’ partner who released “Speed” in North America and select overseas markets, isn’t worried. “It’s a disappointing start on the domestic side, but to open to that number worldwide and nearly match the budget of the film is great. This was a very affordable movie and with many territories left to open, everyone will be just fine. We feel great about where we are.”

“Peabody” fell 34 percent in its second weekend, but still topped the North American chart with $21.2 million from 3,951 theaters for a solid 10-day domestic total of $63.2 million. The 3D animated film from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox took in $15.3 million internationally this weekend, for a global total of $148.8 million.

Warner Bros. and Legendary’s “300: Rise of an Empire” grossed $19.1 million from 3,490 locations for a 10-day North American total of $78.3 million. Overseas, the film remained strong, grossing $41.3 million from 62 markets for a foreign total of $158 million and worldwide cumulative of $236.3 million.

Lionsgate’s “Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club” grossed $8.3 million from 3,183 theaters. That clocks in as the worst opening of Perry’s prolific filmmaking career. No worries. He’ll keep churning out films and TV projects like “The Haves and the Have Nots” on OWN. He also plays Tanner Bolt in the upcoming feature film “Gone Girl.” 

Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” continued to do well, grossing 3.6 million as it expanded from four to 66 theaters in its second weekend. The Fox Searchlight film came in No. 8, boasting an early domestic total of $4.8 million. Its location average was $55,152 — the best of the weekend by far.

Everything I’ve heard about “Budapest” is good, and overseas, it earned another $6.7 million from 13 markets for an early total of $20 million.

Let’s look at “Veronica Mars.” This film is breaking all the rules and showing people how it’s done. Rob Thomas’ feature film based on the TV series starring Kristen Bell was launched last year, thanks to a $5.7 million fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. The movie, playing in only 291 theaters in North America, including 265 in the U.S., grossed $2 million to tie with “The Monuments Men” for No. 10. Its location average was $6,945.

But on the same day it hit theaters (Warner Bros. rented out the theaters, with the majority being AMC locations), “Veronica Mars” was available to buy or rent online, as well as digital platforms such as On Demand and iTunes.

“In many of these complexes, it was the No. 1 grossing film,” said Warners executive vice president of distribution Jeff Goldstein. “There is just incredible interest in this film, and we released it theatrically to set it up for the ancillary markets. This is all outside the norm.” Very outside the norm, and I’m guessing it’ll change the way movies are funded, made and distributed. You have to have a solid fanbase, though, which “Veronica Mars” has. I bet we’ll see a sequel feature film.

Goldstein said information about digital sales and rentals won’t be available until Wednesday, although “Veronica Mars” was ranking No. 3 on iTunes.

“Bad Words,” the R-rated comedy directed by and starring Jason Bateman, opened in six theaters, grossing $120,000 for a location average of $20,000. The movie was acquired by Focus Features at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.

Liam Neeson’s “Non-Stop” placed No. 4 with $10.6 million for a domestic total of $68.8 million, while Warners and Village Roadshows’ “The Lego Movie” grossed $7.7 million to place No. 6, ending the weekend with a domestic total of $236.9 million. Overseas, it earned another $4.7 million from 52 territories for an international total of $141.5 million and global haul of $378.4 million.

“Son of God” took the No. 7 spot in North America, grossing $5.4 million and crossing the $50 million mark.

And let’s not forget “Frozen,” one of my favorite family films of all time. It’s still in play, thanks in part to a theatrical sing-along version, and came in No. 9 this weekend with $2.1 million for a domestic total of $396 million. Worldwide, the Disney film has now earned $1.026 billion worldwide, surpassing fellow Disney title “Alice in Wonderland” ($1.025 billion) and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” ($1.017 billion) to become the No. 15 top-grossing title of all time.

Did you get that? I’ll say it again: “Frozen” is the No. 15 top-grossing title of all time. Girl power!

Numbers Source: Box Office Mojo

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