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Aaron Paul drives from TV to the big screen

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The release of "Need for Speed" will be a test for Aaron Paul. The test is to see if he can take his TV popularity to a higher level. That doesn't always happen.

A TV star's jump to the big screen can be risky but these days the divide between TV and movies is no longer such a big deal.

But Paul, who had a huge following on "Breaking Bad," wasn't the lead there. The popular "Need for Speed" video games will, no doubt, fuel the fire here. If one thinks "300: Rise of an Empire" looks like a video game, enter "Need for Speed." It is based on one, so the male crowd is the key demographic.

That was the key for "300: Rise of an Empire" as well. Surely, that still has some legs so the fight is on for the same audience. Throw in the "Fast and Furious" crowd and the potential for a nice weekend is at hand. But, that same crowd could instead opt for the plethora of college basketball conference finals over the weekend, as the NCAA tourney is near. It takes over the rest of March.

Meanwhile, the audience for "300: Rise of an Empire" was 62 percent male last weekend, and that will play into the numbers this weekend as well. Can "Need for Speed" get that crowd to come back again?

Weekend
1. "Need for Speed" - 3,115 theaters
2. "The Single Moms Club" - 1,800 theaters
3. "Bad Words" - 6 theaters

Marketing to a different demographic is "The Single Moms Club." A Tyler Perry vehicle that will play well for those who like his work. And he has an impressive resume and this is perfect counter-programming.

"Mr. Peabody & Sherman" has to figure in this as well. It was strong last weekend and it played to the female crowd, which was 56 percent female and of that, 52 percent were above the age of 25.

Jason Bateman takes his "Bad Words" on a limited run so far as does "Veronica Mars," based on the TV show of the same name. Kristen Bell stars in "Mars." It was a well-known Kickstarter project that seeks to revive that TV series on the big screen. Oh, "Bad Words" is about a spelling bee, hence bad words enter the picture.

"Enemy" is another limited opening out this weekend. Jake Gyllenhaal in a dual role takes over this thriller that plays with the mind.

But, it will be "Need for Speed" taking on "300" for the title. And then comes a "Breaking Bad" spin-off for Paul titled "Better Call Saul."

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