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March has become a big money month for the studios, but this weekend will not be one of the biggest. Need for Speed is opening, and it’s a functional car chase/car crash movie that hasn’t connected with the Fast and Furious crowd in the way that was hoped for. But it may have enough muscle under the hood to open in the top spot.

And therein lies the question: What about this isn’t getting that crowd excited? It’s a similar thing, it’s fast cars and attractive women and steely looks. Perhaps it’s that it is a knock off. It’s RC Cola cinema. But then the question is if the producers knew that and budgeted accordingly. Considering that Aaron Paul is viewed as a television star, and no one else commands a big salary, they could have done this for a reasonable budget.

But they also thought they had something, and they do — it’s relatively entertaining if you like these sorts of films, but that’s the problem. It’s a genre that appeals to a certain kind of person, and it’s not something that the mainstream has seen much of outside of the Fast series. And that franchise has mutated so much over the last couple years. In some ways it’s more about the family than fast cars, the vehicles have become more decorative. Need for Speed takes a while to get going, but when it does, it’s fun. But this is where the emphatic negative reviews hurt. Anyone who might have seen this if the word was it was a fun ride might have given it a chance. Instead, it’s got a “meh” vibe. That’s no good.

There’s also a new Tyler Perry film opening this weekend. Though his stock has fallen, it should open. The big question is if Mr. Peabody and Sherman has enough oomph to take the top spot.

So….

  1. Need for Speed - $23.5 Million
  2. Mr. Peabody and Sherman - $21.8 Million
  3. Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club - $18.5 Million
  4. 300: Rise of an Empire – $17 Million
  5. Non-Stop – $8 Million

There’s a glut of action, which could help Peabody and hurt Speed, but it may also hurt the holdovers more. Next weekend brings Divergent, which is going to be a powerhouse, so it’s not going to be pretty for most of these titles.

What are you going to watch this weekend?