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Box office report: 'Mr. Peabody and Sherman' beats 'Need for Speed' to finish line with $21.2 million; Tyler Perry flops

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It was not a good weekend to be a new movie in wide release at the box office. The world’s smartest animated dog took the lead  this weekend and left Need for Speed in the dust, while Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club missed the mark and now has the dubious honor of being his lowest opening ever.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman came out on top in its second weekend in theaters with $21.2 million from 3,951 locations. The $145 million DreamWorks Animation pic dropped 34.2 percent from last week’s opening, putting its domestic total at $63.2 million. The real test will be how it stands up to Muppets Most Wanted next weekend — its first real new competition. That could be an indicator of its longterm theatrical legs.

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Box office update: 'Need for Speed' takes the lead on Friday with $6.6 million, 'Veronica Mars' debuts at $1 million

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Need for Speed kicked into high gear on Friday and opened on top with an estimated $6.64 million, but the weekend winner is still undetermined. Last weekend’s top earners, 300: Rise of an Empire and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, are trailing close behind the Aaron Paul pic, and any are fair game for first place based on Friday estimates.

Adapted from the popular EA video game, Need for Speed may not even pass $20 million this weekend. Initial estimates put the car pic in the mid- to high-$20s range, but based on the soft Friday opening, that’s looking unlikely. With an estimated $65 million price tag, a mid-$20s opening was key. This could signal that it’s not actually a potential franchise for DreamWorks and distributor Disney.

EW’s Keith Staskiewicz noted the trend of failed video game adaptations in his C review, writing: Need for Speed is just another pileup in Hollywood’s long accident report of taking games from the couch to the theater seat.” On the whole, reviews have been somewhat dismal, but audiences might disagree. It may be currently hovering around 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, but Friday theater goers gave it a B+ Cinema Score.

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Critical Mass: Do movie critics feel the 'Need for Speed'?

It’s okay to sniff at Need for Speed at first glance. After all, Aaron Paul did. The Breaking Bad star admitted that making a racing movie based on a popular video game didn’t sound like a shrewd career move at first. But then he read the script: “I could relate to this character,” he told EW in January. “I kind of had a personal connection with Tobey Marshall, the guy I play. And it’s very character driven. It’s very story driven. It has a lot of grit and lot of heart. Just so much emotion, and that’s why I jumped aboard.”

Are you going to doubt Jesse Pinkman?

Okay, here’s the plot: Tobey is an upstate New York gear-head who’s framed for the vehicular death of his best friend and spends two years in prison. When he’s released, he speeds cross-country with a pretty girl (Imogen Poots) in a suped-up Mustang to enter a million-dollar underground street race in order to exact revenge against the villainous racer (Dominic Cooper) who set him up. You would not be wrong to expect some high-speed excitement and highway carnage.

EW’s Keith Staskiewicz didn’t exactly buy into it, writing, “Beneath all that chrome plating, this vehicle is a well-used car. Need for Speed is just another pileup in Hollywood’s long accident report of taking games from the couch to the theater seat.”

Click below to see what other top critics think before getting behind the wheel to see Need for Speed. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Need for Speed' revs up for No. 1

It’s another testosterone-driven weekend at the multiplexes as the video game-turned-movie Need for Speed faces off against last week’s reigning box office conqueror 300: Rise of an Empire.

The question is whether or not Aaron Paul, beloved as the tragic Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, can carry a movie. The idea of a star-driven film is a bit of an outdated mentality, but choosing Paul to lead a fairly expensive action pic was at turns unconventional and bold. It’s also a lot of pressure, especially if DreamWorks and EA are eyeing a potential franchise in the vein of the insanely successful Fast & Furious films.

Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club also opens in under 2,000 locations for Lionsgate and the female-driven pic hopes to reach a very different audience, but it’s unlikely to beat the 3-D cars to the finish line.

Here’s how things might play out.

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'Need for Speed' premiere, On the Scene: Aaron Paul, more reveal their worst set of wheels

Need for Speed — Dreamworks’ stunt-heavy paean to fast cars and fiercely loyal bros (and a few ladies who love them), loosely based on the popular street-racing video game franchise and hitting theaters on March 14 — came very close to not being Aaron Paul’s post-Breaking Bad vehicle.

“I was hesitant to even read a script called Need for Speed. I had my own preconceived notions about it, but when I started looking at the pages, all of those went away,” Paul explained to Entertainment Weekly exclusively just after arriving to the Thursday premiere of the film at the TCL Chinese Theater in an overheating muscle car. “I was so shocked and surprised that this film had such a good human story behind it and I could relate to these guys.”

It also didn’t hurt that Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Potts, and the rest of the N.F.S. pit crew got to take a road trip in some very sweet rides, including Bugattis, Lamborghinis, GTA Spanos, Koenigseggs, and a brand-new 2015 Ford Mustang GT. “I loved that it gave me the opportunity to drive around this beautiful country of ours. We shot in seven different states, so it was like a mini-vacation taken in some very cool cars.”

Considering this is probably not even close to how most of our readers usually roll, EW was more interested in asking the cast, the director, and a few famous screening guests about the not-so-fast-or-furious cars of their past. Below, they recall, often surprisingly fondly, their worst beaters, clunkers, and lemons. READ FULL STORY

'Need for Speed': Michael Keaton gets psyched for the 'race before the race' -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

“This is gettin’ good,” Michael Keaton’s ominously named Need for Speed character Monarch says to Aaron Paul’s Tobey Marshall in his signature manic gruff.

Monarch, it seems, has just gotten on board with the romance of Tobey’s quest. He’s speeding across the country (from New York to California in 48 hours, to be precise) with Imogen Poots’ Julia to compete in another race where he hopes to get revenge against the wealthy ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), a lifelong rival who landed him in jail, hurt someone close to him, and stole his ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as cutting down on pit stops. Tobey is dodging parole and a bounty that Dino put on his head.

Still, Keaton’s Monarch is about as excited as we are to see him back in a scene-chewing supporting role. Check out the exclusive clip after the jump. READ FULL STORY

'Need for Speed' Super Bowl ad: Aaron Paul wants to know if you've got anything faster -- VIDEO

When Aaron Paul started preparing for Need for Speed, director Scott Waugh gave him one name to focus on: Steve McQueen.

The movie might take its name from a popular video game, but Waugh never saw it as a cynical cash grab — instead, he saw an “adaptation” as an opportunity to create an homage to classic ’60s and ’70s car flicks. Also, as Paul pointed out late last year in Los Angeles, they couldn’t have stuck to the video game even if they wanted to. “There’s no narrative there,” he said. “It was a blank canvas. All we needed to stick to was super fast cars.”

So, they started with McQueen.
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'Need for Speed' trailer: Aaron Paul on stunts and pushing his own limits -- VIDEO

Need for Speed might be based on a video game, but director Scott Waugh wasn’t interested in digital representations for his feature film. Nearly everything you see on-screen is real, whether it’s a car jumping a medium or flying off a bridge. What else would you expect from a veteran stuntman turned director?

The wild card was getting an actor to sign up for that.

When Waugh first approached Aaron Paul to star in his first post-Breaking Bad film, he didn’t mince words: “I told him, If you really want to do this movie, I need to teach you how to drive. And I’m not talking straight. I’m talking 150 miles an hour drifting,” Waugh told EW in October.

Driving school came next, and Paul was a quick study.”My first true day on the film was out at the race track. By the end of the first day I was doing 360s. Then the next couple of days were learning how to trick around corners or doing reverse 180s,” Paul said.

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Aaron Paul has a need for revenge in 'Need for Speed' trailer -- VIDEO

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“All those who defied me shall be ashamed and disgraced. Those who wage war against me shall perish.”

Watch out, Heisenberg — there’s a new danger in town. Breaking Bad actor and Emmy winner Aaron Paul proclaims his pursuit of vengeance  against those who have wronged him in the trailer for the upcoming action drama Need for Speed. Directed by Scott Waugh (Act of Valor), the film is inspired by the EA video game series of the same name. The movie centers on street racer and mechanic Tobey Marshall (Paul), who is hell-bent on revenge after serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Need for Speed also stars Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper, Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, Rami Malek, and Michael Keaton.

Check out the dramatic trailer here:
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'Breaking Bad' star Aaron Paul joins 'Need For Speed' movie -- EXCLUSIVE

Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul is going places in the movies — fast.

The two-time Emmy winner, who co-stars in the new film Smashed, has signed on as the lead in DreamWorks’ upcoming feature film Need For Speed.

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