Whether it was a case of a cartoon-cornered market or fans having time for a Fast & Furious knockoff, Disney’s Need for Speed didn’t meet expectations to drive home a first place finish at the box-office this weekend.
Moviegoers chose DreamWorks Animation’s tale of a professorial pooch and his young charge over the 3D big screen adaptation of the popular video game, which opened with an underwhelming $17.8 million despite the presence of star Aaron Paul, from TV’s “Breaking Bad.”
That left the hot car tale in third behind last week’s No. 1 film, the R-rated sword-and-sandals saga “300: Rise of an Empire,” which took in $19.1 million. The Liam Neeson jetliner thriller “Non-Stop” was fourth with $10.6 million in its third week.
DreamWorks’ “Need for Speed” came in well under the $25 million that analysts and distributor Disney had projected. They’d expected a combination of gamers, fans of muscle car movies and a 3D boost to power “Need for Speed.” It hit those demographic targets, just not hard enough, and the presence of the other action movies may have hurt.
“Need for Speed” failed to match the $23 million opening of the weakest of the “Fast & Furious” movies, 2006’s “Tokyo Drift.” And it didn’t connect with the console crowd either, joining a list of recent video-game misfires that includes “Max Payne” and “Silent Hill: Revelation.”
“If the overall number was bigger we’d be doing high fives because of the demos,” Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told TheWrap Sunday. “One of the fundamentally tricky parts of tracking is that younger audiences can be finicky and easily distracted, but keeping their focus is our job, so the domestic opening is disappointing.”
Need for Speed co-star Kid Cudi wasn’t hinging on his passenger seat role to keep him in Hollywood, however. The popular rapper is coming off a strong showing with his studio fourth album and now has a prominent role in the HBO’s upcoming Entourage movie.
Check out pics of the CuDi, the cast, director Doug Ellin and a couple of NFL quarterbacks on the set of the flick, due out July 2015.
Photo: Instagram/Doug Ellin, Adrian Grenier