Early Crowd Report Analysis
Need for Speed poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published March 14, 2014
Friday night shows are empty so far which feels like a bad sign but it could end up being a walk-up-and-buy movie in which its audience doesnít purchase in advance.
Thereís a decent chance Need for Speed wonít even near my $9 million Friday forecast if local advance sales are an accurate portrayal of what will be. Friday night shows are empty so far which feels like a bad sign but it could end up being a walk-up-and-buy movie in which its audience doesnít purchase in advance. The movie is also playing in 3D which will inflate its box office but there doesnít look to be early demand. If the movie does in fact fall far short of nearing $10 million Friday, it should be attested to the quality, as Aaron Paul is coming off the brilliant quality of Breaking Bad, whereas Need for Speed doesnít showcase anywhere near the levels of its brains in any of its advertising placements. The audience for Breaking Bad was largely smart viewers and they might be turned off by this brainless effort. I originally predicted a $10 million opening weekend and then completely turned around on it, and thereís a chance that I was right the first time and even a chance that I was even high-balling that.

Things could change as the early evening comes around on Friday and it could bounce up. High school kids usually donít buy online and usually just show up to the theater at showtime. But high school kids wouldnít be the only demographic on board which is what makes this kind of troubling. I was pretty sure this movie would be Aaron Paulís breakout hit after being a huge success on television, and I could be wrong, but I could also be validated if its audience isnít going to be purchasing online. If it does kind of bomb at the box office, especially with 3D, it will also be attributed to a lack of star-power. Besides Aaron Paul and a supporting role by Michael Keaton, there arenít any stars to attract moviegoers. Vin Diesel was an enormous draw for Fast and the Furious and he was not alone in names. I have no idea what to predict at this point until Friday evening showtimes come around and only then would I have a better idea of what this street-racing thriller could end up doing on Friday and the weekend.

Veronica Mars also opens this weekend but in select cities to generate word of mouth, and after looking like it was going to sell out most shows on its first day at one particular theater in Los Angeles (at least from the beginning of the week), the demand didnít increase and itís only packed at night. The midnight show on late Thursday night, as well as the two night time shows on Friday night, were heavily packed even from Monday, but the shows failed to sell out in advance and the early Friday shows arenít crowded at all. This theater costs $14 bucks if you buy in person and $15 bucks if you buy online so ticket sales will be inflated because of online business and this should be one of the highest trafficked theaters for the movie. Itís going to attract a heavily college-based audience, and especially from UCLA for this one theater, and dominantly young girls/women, and itís not going to attract beyond the diehard fans of its TV program. Warner Bros is clearly testing the waters to see where exactly they stand with widespread potential, and the per-screen average the movie earns in its limited platform will determine where this thing goes. Diehard fans are going to be pleased with the movie but itís going to struggle with people who aren't familiar with it. The movie hasnít been constructed to please just anybody who sees it which should limit the quantity of patrons.
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'Need for Speed' Articles
  • Lee's Need for Speed review D+
    March 16, 2014    Fans of {Aaron Paul} are going to be sorely disappointed at just how dumb, lame, and worthless this happens to be. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Craig's Need for Speed review D+
    March 15, 2014    The movie lives up to the fast-car/slow-brain mantra but some of this stuff is so over the top that all you can do is laugh at it. -- Craig Younkin
  • Box Office Outlook: Need for Speed
    March 13, 2014    I wouldnít be surprised if it lands a $9 million first day gross and ends up nearing a $30 million weekend. -- Lee Tistaert