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Weekend Box Office: Mr. Peabody and Sherman Grab Top Spot as Need for Speed Breaks Down

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By Chris Kavan - 03/16/14 at 09:42 PM CT

Even though 300 fired up the box office last weekend, it was the family audience who had the biggest impact at the theaters this weekend. Meanwhile, the two new films failed to spark much excitement while Wes Anderson's latest continues to do monster business in limited release. All told, March may have roared in like a lion, but this week things quieted down quite a bit. Next week should provide some much-needed fireworks to get the month back on track.

1) MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN

It's no question that family-oriented films tend to do better at the box office than most competitors - and the second weekend proves that point. After opened up behind 300 last weekend, the animated duo of Peabody and Sherman took the top spot this weekend with a $21.2 million bow - down just 34.2%. That hold is better than The Croods (which dropped 39% in its second weekend) and on par with How to Train Your Dragon (which dipped 34%). The animated film has now brought in $63.18 million and it should be able to top the $100 million mark by the time it leaves theaters.

2) 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

After a nice start last weekend, the 300 sequel took a pretty big 58% hit to drop to second place. That is a little steeper than the original film, which only dropped 54%. Rise of an Empire took in $19.1 million to give it a new total of $78.3 million and is still on course to at least make back its $110 million budget. Action movies always tend to be front-loaded and 300 was no exception. Even with competition, however, it should be able to stick around for at least a few more weeks.

3) NEED FOR SPEED

Aaron Paul may have made a good impression on Breaking Bad, but he wasn't a big enough draw to make Need for Speed a hit at the box office. Opening at $17.8 million - it couldn't match the opening of the lowest-grossing Fast and Furious film (Tokyo Drift - $24 million) - and in terms of video game adaptations, was right in line with Resident Evil ($17.7 million) and Max Payne ($17.6 million). Even though that point wasn't emphasized, it's just another in a lone line of mediocre video game adaptations. The most likely scenario is that general audiences likely sniffed out this was a pretty blatant Fast and Furious clone - and like all copies - was never going to be as good as the original. The audience was made up mostly of men (70%) and steered toward slightly older (55% over 25) and they awarded it a so-so"B+" Cinemascore. That means it's not going to get any sort of word-of-mouth bump, and it will probably land somewhere shy of the $50 million mark.

4) NON-STOP

Even though it had not one, but two competitors this weekend, the Liam Neeson-led Non-Stop managed an impressive hold, dropping just 33% in its third weekend out. With another $10.6 million in the bank, its total rose to $68.6 million - and surpassed the last collaboration between Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra - as Unknown only took in $63.6 million. It's looking like Non-Stop is well on its way to $75 million - and should it hold up well enough, don't be surprised if it flirts with the $100 million mark.


5) SINGLE MOMS CLUB

For those (like me) who never got Tyler Perry's brand of humor, maybe it's about time everyone else caught up. Perry's Single Moms Club opened to just $8.3 million - that is the worst opening for the director yet, topping the previous holder of that title Daddy's Little Girls (which opened to $11.2 million back in 2007). It's the latest misfire for Perry who also had a hard time with Peeples (which he produced - and ultimately wound up making less than $10 million) and his last Madea film, A Madea Christmas, barely crossed the $50 million mark. The man has churned (yes, I'm using that verb) out 16 films in the last eight years - maybe it's time for him to slow down a little and focus on quality over quantity - if that is possible. If nothing else, at least it seems everyone else is getting a bit tired of him and that's a club I will gladly join.

Outside the top five: Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel expanded to 66 theaters, and jumped from 17th to 8th place in the process. If you recall, the limited opening was highly impressive - and it continued to show very strong returns. At $3.64 million, Grand Budapest had a $55,152-per-theater average - and that is a new record for any film playing in 50+ theaters. Next week the film will continue to expand (up to 275 locations) and it's only a matter of time before it makes it to my area - and I have to say, the anticipation is killing me.

Veronica Mars managed to bring out the fanbase as the loyal "Marshmellows" gave the film an opening of $2.02 million (10th place) - at 291 locations. The film is more of an experiment than anything else, as it was released on VOD at the same time. It will be interesting to see where it ultimately winds up - but no matter what the final tally, the fans are the real winners here.

Next week sees the premiere of Divergent - which is the latest YA adaptation - but I have a feeling that unlike Mortal Instruments and Beautiful Creatures - this has the best chance yet of joining the likes of The Hunger Games and Twilight in becoming the "next big thing". Granted, I think having Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller both on board (who were both amazing in The Spectacular Now) helps - but, even if I don't end up going to the theater, I'm rooting for this one. For the family, there is also Muppets Most Wanted - which should win the family crowd over.

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