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Box Office: ‘Mr. Peabody and Sherman’ Bites Into Top Spot, ‘Need for Speed’ in Third

The box office has gone to a dog.

Fox-DreamWorks Animation’s “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” will mark its territory as this weekend’s No. 1 movie with $21.2 million. Disney-DreamWorks’ “Need for Speed,” which had been the favorite to win the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, is now on track for a disappointing third place finish with a $17.8 million opening.

Produced for approximately $145 million, the canine toon “Peabody” (A CinemaScore) has a two-week Stateside cume of $63 million — about 75% of the total domestic gross of Fox’s last pic, “Turbo” ($83 million). However, “Turbo” more than doubled that figure overseas with $283 million.

“Peabody” earned an additional $15.3 million from 61 international markets.

The race car actioner “Speed” (B+ CinemaScore) was the victor on Thursday and Friday, but lost momentum along the way. It fared better internationally with $45.6 million. Scott Waugh’s pic debuted in almost every major overseas market. The movie opened No. 1 in China, where it earned $21.2 million. The actioner could experience a spike when it premieres in Germany, Spain, France, South Korea and Japan.

With a $66 million price tag, the movie must get a second wind to be considered a win for DreamWorks following the commercial duds “The Fifth Estate” ($1.7 million opening) and “Delivery Man” ($8 million opening). It could see 3D boosts from 2,100 3D and 280 premium large-format screens as 3D accounted for 43% of this weekend’s gross.

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Even with “Breaking Bad” alum Aaron Paul and the videogame’s popularity, race car pics don’t traditionally do well at the box office, with the exception of the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Universal’s previous installment, “Fast & Furious 6,” opened to $97 million in May, later grossing $239 Stateside and $789 million worldwide.

As expected, males made up 70% of audiences. The age groups, on the other hand, were scattered with 28% in the 18-25 demo and an additional 28% in 26-34. Also, 66% of the crowd consisted of couples.

The animated time-travel adventure “Peabody,” on the other hand, is family-friendly fare for children heading into spring vacation.

Despite a 58% dip, Warner Bros.-Legendary’s “300: Rise of an Empire” is still going strong in second place with an estimated $19.1 million. It conquered the box office, ahead of “Peabody,” last weekend. This brings its two-week domestic cume to $78.3 million thanks to 3D and premium large-format offerings. Imax showings could earn an additional $2.7 million. WB’s seven-month delay in releasing the film to convert it for 3D and Imax is clearly paying off.

“300” also generated $41.3 million from 62 foreign markets, raising its international cume to $158 million.

The sword-and-sandal film comes seven years after the Gerard Butler starrer “300” hit theaters, debuting domestically to $71 million in 2007 and ultimately amassing $456 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, Universal’s “Non-Stop” is proof of Liam Neeson’s pull. The action-thriller, which broke Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow’s “The Lego Movie’s” three-week winning streak earlier this month, is still a force to be reckoned with, on its way to earning $10.6 million (only down 33%) this weekend. It’s headed toward fourth place with a Stateside cume of $68.8 million.

Lionsgate’s “Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club” is another under-performing pic. In fact, it’s gearing up to be Perry’s lowest opener to date as a director and the second lowest as a producer (“Tyler Perry Presents Peeples” bowed to $4.6 million) with a projected $8.3 million and fifth place finish. Despite its impressive A- CinemaScore, the comedy came in far behind Perry’s last release, “A Madea Christmas” ($16 million opening).

Perry’s previous female-targeted film, “Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” hauled $22 million when it opened last March. Women made up 79% of “Single Moms Club’s” audience and 80% of the crowd was over age 25.

This is Perry’s last film with Lionsgate.

Warner Bros.’ “Veronica Mars” earned $2 million this weekend — an almost $7,000 per-screen average. It made the top 10 by a hair.

Despite fans’ furor following technical difficulties in attempting to redeem free digital downloads of the movie, the cult TV show’s loyal supporters, inducing Kickstarter donors who raised $5.7 million to fund the comedy, showed up in hordes. It’s one success story after another for this little show that could.

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” will be bringing in an impressive $3.6 million, increasing its two-week cume to $4.8 million. After expanding from four to 66 theaters following a record-setting live-action per-screen average ($200,000) last weekend, it stands to make a grand $3.7 million this weekend. It’s new screen average is still a stellar $54.5 million.

“The film is reaching a wide audience beyond the core Wes Anderson fans,” Frank Rodriguez, Fox Searchlight’s senior VP of distribution, said in a statement. “While moviegoers have been visiting art houses and specialty venues in record breaking fashion this weekend, there have also been great results in the few mainstream multiplexes that we opened as well.

The newest billion-dollar box office club member, Disney’s “Frozen,” came in ninth with $2.1 million in its 17th weekend following a Thanksgiving day opening.

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