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Peabody licks sputtering Speed


This article was published March 21, 2014 at 2:25 a.m.


Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman, take a journey through time in the computer-animated fi lm Mr. Peabody & Sherman. It came in first at last weekend’s box office and made almost $22 million.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman rose to the top of the box office in its second week, as the video-game adaptation Need for Speed fell short of estimates.

Mr. Peabody generated $21.8 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, rising one spot from its debut a week earlier, Rentrak Corp. said Sunday. The film was forecast to earn $20 million, according to Need for Speed, starring Aaron Paul from TV’s Breaking Bad, took third with $17.8 million, missing a $23 million estimate.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman, created by DreamWorks Animation SKG and distributed by 20th Century Fox Inc., held its audience better than competitors as some schools began letting students out for spring break. Need for Speed, based on the popular video-game franchise, was done in by poor reviews and the failure of its targeted audience to turn up in force.

Only 24 percent of critics surveyed by aggregator wrote positive reviews of Need for Speed. Film goers under 18 who saw the film liked it, Hollis said. He said the overseas response was encouraging, notably in China, where the movie registered the biggest March opening on Imax Corp. large-format screens, and drew an estimated $21 million total in its opening weekend in the country.

Need for Speed was made for an estimated $66 million, according to Box Office Mojo. It was produced by Dream-Works Studios, which is separate from the animation company and releases its movies through Walt Disney Co. The film follows a street racer, fresh from prison, who joins a cross-country race with revenge in mind for a former associate.

Ticket sales for Mr. Peabody, about the time-traveling adventures of a dog and his adopted son, declined 34 percent from its first weekend, compared with a 58 percent drop for 300: Rise of an Empire. That film, from Warner Bros., fell to second from first with $19.2 million.

Mr. Peabody, targeted for families, opened with $32.5 million in its first weekend, below the $43.6 million opening of DreamWorks Animation’s March entry last year, The Croods. Made for $145 million, Peabody has grossed $63.2 million domestically in two weeks, revenue that is split with theaters.

Also making its debut was Tyler Perry’s the Single Moms Club, which had a disappointing weekend, coming in at fifth place with $8 million for distributor Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.

The film, about five women from varied backgrounds who are thrown together to organize a school fundraiser, was forecast to gross $16 million by It stars Perry, Nia Long and Cocoa Brown.

The weekend also featured Warner Bros.’ release of Veronica Mars, a movie funded through a Kickstarter campaign, at No. 11.

Creator Rob Thomas raised $5.7 million to make the movie, which is based on the TV show. The film generated $2 million in revenue in limited release, and was also available online.

Some contributors to the campaign, promised digital copies of the movie, complained about accessing it on Warner Bros.’ Flixster site. That prompted Thomas to post a note to fans, addressing the problems.

While most Veronica Mars backers had a successful experience, Warner Bros. is offering refunds to those who want to download the film on a different platform, such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes or Inc., the distributor said.

MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 03/21/2014

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