Weekend Box Office: ‘Need for Speed’ Hopes to Outpace ‘300’ Sequel, Tyler Perry Marks End of an Era

"Need for Speed" should win the box office by at least a car length this weekend, and Tyler Perry is offering his closing act with Lions Gate. Here's what fans and investors need to know.

Mar 14, 2014 at 4:03PM

With Need for Speed, Disney and Dreamworks will battle with Time Warner's 300 sequel and Lions Gate's latest Tyler Perry offering for box office supremacy.

Need for Speed will likely win the top spot at the weekend box office, Credit: Disney/Dreamworks

Buckle your seatbelts, old-school video game fans, because Disney (NYSE:DIS) and DreamWorks Studios are about to bring one your favorite racing titles to life on the big screen.

Starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, Need for Speed will look to capitalize on its status as the only new wide release hitting more than 3,000 theaters this weekend. Early sales currently have it tracking somewhere in the $25 million range over the next three days.

Will that be enough to oust Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) reigning champion in 300: Rise of an Empire? I think so, at least barring any unexpected outperformance from the quasi-historical sequel/prequel. If Rise of an Empire experiences a similar 53.6% second-weekend drop as its 2007 predecessor, it should end this weekend in the $21 million range.

Don't expect too much
But make no mistake: Need for Speed is no Fast & Furious. 

While a $25 million opening wouldn't be too shabby given Disney/DreamWorks' $66 million budget, it's also only marginally better than 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which opened to a franchise-low $24 million en route to a mediocre $158.5 million worldwide gross. A similar result would likely be enough for Need for Speed to prove profitable for Disney and DreamWorks, but it's still a far cry from the $444 million average global gross enjoyed by the other five Fast & Furious movies. 

However, that's also not to say Need for Speed couldn't pick up the pace and command any number of sequels, especially if movie-goers respond with positive word of mouth for the first installment. As a result, I'm curious to see what exiting audiences will tell the folks at CinemaScore this weekend. If Need for Speed can earn an A- or better, there's a good chance it could have plenty of room to run up its totals over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, don't forget about DreamWorks Animation's (NASDAQ:DWA) $145 million effort with Mr. Peabody & Sherman. The family-friendly film earned a solid 'A' CinemaScore last week, but drew the ire of Wall Street after it grossed a modest $32.2 million during its debut. One analyst even predicted as much as $84 million in resulting writedowns for the studio.

But that pessimism hinged on the assumption Mr. Peabody & Sherman would only muster a total gross of $310 million at the global box office -- something with which I've already respectfully disagreed. In any case, if Mr. Peabody & Sherman holds up as well as DreamWorks' The Croods did last March, it could mean a close battle for second place this weekend with around $20 million. 

The end of an era
Finally, don't underestimate Lions Gate Entertainment's (NYSE:LGF) Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club, which is set to enter roughly 1,900 theaters. Keeping in mind Perry's films typically require comparatively low production budgets of around $20 million, The Single Moms Club should prove yet another winner with a projected opening around $15 million to $20 million.

The Single Moms Club is also notable because it marks Perry's 15th and final film under his long-standing partnership with Lions Gate. That said, you can rest assured we haven't seen the last of Tyler Perry. Going forward, the much-loved writer/director/producer/actor will focus his time on developing several television series under his multi-year production deal with Oprah Winfrey's namesake network.

In any case, I'll be sure to touch base as the weekend progresses to see how each movie is faring, but I'd love to hear your thoughts in the meantime. Will Need for Speed disappoint as The Single Moms Club outperforms? Can Mr. Peabody & Sherman prove analysts wrong? Sound off in the comments section below.

There are trillions at stake here
With all the attention we place on the box office, Tyler Perry's attention to the small screen serves as a good reminder there's plenty of money to be made elsewhere. However, it's obvious the landscape of television is changing.

For example, you know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers