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New in Theaters March 14: Need for Speed, Single Moms Club, Veronica Mars

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By Chris Kavan - 03/13/14 at 06:38 AM CT

Last weekend the leather-clad navy in 300: Rise of an Empire easily cut down any and all competition at the box office. This week the warriors will face off against a Fast and Furious clone, the latest from Tyler Perry and, in a limited opening before expanding, a kickstarter success story that has brought a beloved (but low-rated) TV show back from the dead. I have a feeling it will be close race between fast cars and well-oiled abs at the box office and we'll see which testosterone-filled film comes out on top.

NEED FOR SPEED There is no doubt that Need for Speed - based on the popular video game series - conjurers up memories of The Fast and Furious (especially the later, more outlandish sequels). But this one has Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul taking the lead. Even though I never jumped on the Breaking Bad binge-wagon (it's there, I just haven't taken the plunge yet) - I like Paul. In all his interviews and speeches, he seems like an all-around down-to-Earth kind of guy. Though I think Need for Speed falls clearly in the rent or stream category for me personally, I kind of want this franchise to succeed. Plus, let's face it, video game adaptations fare poorly - so any win in that category is a good thing. From what I've seen, the movie clearly takes an over-the-top view of car races - flying in the air everywhere, off cliffs, helicopters involved - it's not going to fall in realm of reality. But it does look like a lot of fun - add in Dominic Cooper, Michael Keaton, Imogen Poots and future Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson - things should at least play out well. The big questions is whether the outlandish car caper will be able to compete with the CGI monster that is 300. It should be the battle of the weekend and it will be interesting to see what film comes out on top.

SINGLE MOMS CLUB AKA Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club - the prolific director returns with yet another black urban-themed film, this time focusing on a group of single mothers who bond following an incident at their school - coming together despite differences in their respective walks of life. I swear, that sounds like a setup for a Lifetime Movie - though the cast (Nia Long, Amy Smart, Cocoa Brown, Terry Crews, Ryan Eggold and, of course, Perry himself) at least is an upgrade from a typical TV movie. Still, I can't get over the fact that Perry is still so successful - even when his films fall flat on their face, it doesn't stop him from constantly hammering out more. At least his Madea films have some kind of comedic schtick - this one just looks painful. It is obviously going after a female audience - which is good counter-programming given the other films in theaters, but even so, I can't see this appealing to that wide of an audience. The weekend will tell.

VERONICA MARS Last weekend it was Wes Anderson and The Grand Budapest Hotel that had the indie crowd abuzz with a monster opening weekend in limited number of theaters. This week is an entirely different story. Veronica Mars was a beloved UPN/CW show that lasted three seasons and developed a dedicated following. It put Kristen Bell on the map and had a quirky charm (much like other favorite cult shows - some successful, some gone far too soon - Buffy, Firefly, and so many, many others). But then something came along to change the game - that something was Kickstarter and a campaign to make a Veronica Mars movie became the most successful Kickstarter story by raising $5.7 million and director Rob Thomas delivered. By all indications, early screenings have been a huge hit with fans.... but that won't necessarily translate to a massive box office. Look no further than the rather low returns for Serenity (based on FIrefly) to know that while fans will turn out - it's hard to sell the movie to a more general audience. I was also never a Veronica Mars fan, but I like a happy ending, so I hope the movie does get some good returns. It is being released on VOD at the same time - so fans will have two ways to check it out - and, if all goes well, it should enjoy a somewhat wider release down the road. Still, I think a lot of people are going to be keeping an eye on this to see if a popular Kickstarter funded project translates to a popular release.

There you have it - fast cars, single women and Veronica Mars - you couldn't ask for a more diverse offering this weekend. We'll see how each of the three turn out and whether some boat-hopping Athenians have the last laugh.


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View smeagol's Profile


Wrote on 03/13/14 at 08:15 AM CT

i recently only just watched breaking bad i binge watched it all. fantastic show. it really is.
for once hype is justified . i hope need for speed does well he seems a nice guy. but with fast and furious still popular i cant see it doing that well. especially against 300.,
but there's some serious fans out there. and for the need for speed style movies.

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