'Mr. Peabody' top dog at U.S. box office, revs past 'Speed,' '300'

Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:29pm EDT
 
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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" won the weekend box office derby with $21.2 million in ticket sales, outpacing both last week's winner "300: Rise of An Empire" and video game turned car racing movie "Need for Speed."

The animated "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," which opened a week earlier in the No. 2 spot, overtook last week's winner, the Greek-era action film "300: Rise of an Empire" which collected $19.1 million from Friday to Sunday, according to studio estimates.

"Need for Speed" settled for third place on its opening weekend with ticket sales of $17.8 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

"Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club," the weekend's other new movie, was fifth behind "Non-Stop," selling $8.3 million worth of tickets. The Liam Neeson airliner thriller made $10.6 million.

The stunt-filled "Need for Speed," starring Aaron Paul of the AMC television series "Breaking Bad," had hoped to capitalize on the video game franchise's appeal to a young audience, but fell short of Hollywood's forecast of a $22 million-to-$25 million opening weekend. Paul stars as a street racer who seeks revenge after being framed for the death of a close friend.

"The tracking had shown the younger audience was as hot as could be," said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of film distribution at Walt Disney Studios, which released the film produced by Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studio.

"So when they didn't show, yes it leaves us disappointed," said Hollis. "But the good news is the folks who did come really liked it," he noted, citing moviegoer polls, and adding that the studio was hopeful that strong word of mouth with approaching school and Easter holidays would stoke the box office.

The film, which cost about $66 million, took in about $63 million globally during its opening, Hollis said.   Continued...

 
Cast member Ty Burrell attends the premiere of the film "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" in Los Angeles March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Phil McCarten