Need for Speed Lacks Fuel at Weekend Box Office
By John Hamann
March 16, 2014
It’s an interesting weekend at the box office and not for the usual reasons. We have a mini-blockbuster in DreamWorks’ Need for Speed, and a Tyler Perry release, so there should have been some pop at the top of the box office. Surprisingly there was no pop, and the intrigue comes in the bottom half of the top ten this weekend, with Veronica Mars and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The top 12 movies at the box office are filled with interesting stories. DreamWorks releases Need for Speed with Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul through Disney; Tyler Perry steps up to the plate (again) with The Single Moms Club, his last with Lionsgate; Wes Anderson has a film in the top ten, despite being on only 66 screens; Veronica Mars comes back to life; and Frozen tries to stay in the top ten the weekend before it comes out on Blu-Ray. It was a weekend where the smaller films went big, and the big films went small, as Mr. Peabody & Sherman climb their way to number one.
Yes, last weekend’s number two film, Mr. Peabody & Sherman – which finished $13 million behind 300: Rise of an Empire in the last frame – has climbed into the top spot this weekend. The animated Fox release held decently this weekend, earning $21.2 million from 3,951 venues. It fell 34% compared to its $32.2 million opening, an okay but certainly not fantastic drop for an animated movie that did not break out over opening weekend. It is, however, a similar trend to how Fox’s last animated March release fared. The Croods, released in March 2013, opened to a higher $43.6 million, and then fell a similar 39% in weekend two. After that point, it never saw a drop higher than 37% until its tenth weekend. The Croods had an excellent opening-to-total multiplier of 4.3, but didn’t have demographic competition until that 10th weekend. On the other hand, Mr. Peabody & Sherman has to deal with Muppets Most Wanted next weekend and then Rio 2 in weekend six.
That puts the opening-to-total multiplier for Mr. Peabody & Sherman at much more risk, but at this point, it looks like the Fox release will earn at least $100 million stateside against its $145 million budget. Because of that large budget, it needs to do at least $150 million domestically, with the assumption it doubles that gross overseas. These days, pics need to earn three times that production budget worldwide to see a profit from the theatrical release, as worldwide marketing costs drive up the cost. Will Mr. Peabody & Sherman earn $435 million worldwide? It’s extremely doubtful, but The Croods managed the feat. It earned $187 million domestically and a killer $400 million overseas to earn a profit for Fox. I don’t see lightning striking twice, as the opening for The Croods was $11 million higher on the domestic front, and we have seen similar opening results in other markets. Finishing number one this weekend will help its fortunes, but it’s too little, too late with some decent competition preparing to assault. So far, Mr. Peabody & Sherman has earned $63.2 million in North America.