Weekend Report: 'Mr. Peabody' Races Past 'Need for Speed'
Video game adaptation Need for Speed wasn't fast enough to take the checkered flag this weekend. Instead, first place went to DreamWorks Animation's Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

In its second weekend, Mr. Peabody fell 32 percent to $21.8 million. That's a better hold than last March's The Croods (39 percent), and also a slight improvement over How to Train Your Dragon (34 percent). To date, Mr. Peabody has earned $63.8 million; with good word-of-mouth and a lack of competition, it should reach $100 million by the end of the month.

300: Rise of an Empire plummeted 57 percent to $19.2 million. In comparison, the first 300 dropped 54 percent in its second outing. So far, the sequel has banked $78.4 million at the domestic box office.

Playing at 3,118 locations, Need for Speed opened in third place with $17.8 million. That's a somewhat disappointing start: it's lower than the worst Fast & Furious movie (Tokyo Drift, $24 million), and is roughly on par with past video game adaptations Resident Evil ($17.7 million) and Max Payne ($17.6 million).

Need for Speed is the latest in a long line of video game adaptations that underperformed at the domestic box office. The console connection isn't the reason it missed, though—Disney's marketing smartly avoided making that association. Instead, the movie was hurt by its derivative nature—moviegoers had this pegged as a Fast & Furious knock-off—and lack of a compelling story.

Need for Speed's crowd was overwhelmingly male (70 percent), and skewed a bit older (55 percent over the age of 25). 3D showings accounted for 43 percent of revenue. The audience gave the movie a "B+" CinemaScore, which suggests only so-so word-of-mouth. In the long-run, it's likely that Need for Speed slams on the brakes short of $50 million.

Non-Stop eased 33 percent to $10.6 million. On Saturday, it passed Unknown, which was the last collaboration between Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra. So far, Non-Stop has earned an impressive $68.8 million.

In fifth place, Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club bombed with $8.1 million. That's the lowest opening ever for a movie directed by Tyler Perry—2007's Daddy's Little Girls previously held that "record" with $11.2 million.

The last 10 months haven't been good for the Tyler Perry brand. In May, Tyler Perry Presents Peeples (produced by Perry) couldn't get past $10 million. In December, A Madea Christmas barely crossed $50 million, which was a slightly disappointing result for the mighty Madea franchise. And now The Single Moms Club opens below $10 million, which is a truly surprisingly result (Lionsgate was expecting mid-to-high teens). After 16 movies in eight years, it seems like moviegoers are finally tiring of Perry's work.

The Single Moms Club's audience was 79 percent female and 80 percent over 25 years of age. They awarded the movie a solid "A-" CinemaScore; unfortunately, Perry's movies tend to be fairly front-loaded, so it would be surprising if this wound up over $25 million total.

Lionsgate has had a tough year so far: following The Legend of Hercules and I, Frankenstein, The Single Moms Club is the third movie in a row to open below $9 million. That streak will end next weekend when Divergent opens nationwide.

Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel expanded to 66 theaters this weekend and took eighth place with $3.64 million. That translates to a $55,152 per-theater average, which is an all-time record for a movie playing in over 50 locations. Next weekend, Budapest expands in to at least 275 theaters total.

The Veronica Mars movie, which was funded via a Kickstarter campaign, earned $1.99 million from 291 theaters this weekend. Over half of that was from Friday, which suggests that the "Marshmellows" rushed out to see the movie immediately. It's unlikely that Veronica Mars holds well in the long-term: it's already available on VOD, and many Kickstarter backers received a digital copy. Still, this is an interesting experiment, and should prove to be modestly successful for those involved.

Jason Bateman's Bad Words opened to $113,301 at six locations. That translates to a weak $18,884 per-theater average. The big test for the R-rated comedy comes on March 28th, when it's set to expand nationwide.

Around-the-World Roundup

Need for Speed made up some ground overseas, where it opened to a strong $45.6 million. Almost half of that was from China, where the movie earned $21.2 million. That's on par with Robocop's debut there, and is actually higher than its U.S. opening ($17.8 million).

It also took first place in Russia ($5.5 million) and the U.K. ($3.5 million). It was less impressive in other markets like Australia ($1.4 million), Brazil ($1.3 million), Mexico ($1.3 million) and Italy ($1.1 million). Next weekend, Need for Speed expands in to Germany and a handful of smaller markets.

300: Rise of an Empire added $41.3 million for an impressive $158 million total. Assuming it eventually opens in China, Rise of an Empire should ultimately top the original 300's $245 million foreign total.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman earned $15 million this weekend, which brings its total to $85 million. Its only major new market was Italy, where it opened to a so-so $1.2 million.

Frozen finally reached Japan this weekend, and the wait was worth it: the animated sensation opened to a very strong $9.4 million. That's only 13 percent lower than Monsters University, which wound up earning over $90 million total in Japan.

Worldwide, Frozen has now grossed $1.027 billion. Over the weekend, it passed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Alice in Wonderland to move up to 15th place on the all-time chart. If it holds well in Japan—a reasonable assumption, given its performance in other markets—it will close in ninth place ahead of The Dark Knight Rises.

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'Need for Speed' in Three-Way Race for First This Weekend

Last Weekend

'300' Sequel Conquers Box Office

This Weekend in Past Years:

• 2013 - 'Oz' Leads, 'Call' Exceeds, 'Burt' Bombs

• 2012 - Audiences Report to '21 Jump Street'

• 2011 - 'Limitless' Leads Listless Lot

• 2010 - 'Alice' Stays Green, 'Green Zone' Opens in Red

• 2009 - 'Witch' Blasts Off, 'Watchmen' Burns Out

• 2008 - 'Horton' Hits It Big

• 2007 - '300' Bleeds But Leads

• 2006 - 'V for Vendetta' Bombards the Top Spot

• 2005 - 'Ring Two' Opens Well

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Weekend Box Office Results

• 2014 Yearly Box Office

• All-Time Domestic