Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Think Like a Man Is New #1

Plus, The Lucky One takes #2, and The Hunger Games finally falls.

by | April 23, 2012 | Comments

This weekend, proving for the umpteenth time that African American casts can bring in the big bucks, Sony’s Think Like a Man exploded into the top spot at the box office while the romance of The Lucky One debuted solidly in second. Both films knocked 4-time champ The Hunger Games from the top slot.

Based on the bestselling book by Steve Harvey, Think Like a Man dominated the box office with a stellar $33M opening this weekend, according to estimates, for a powerful $16,377 per screen average. Starring Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart and Taraji P. Henson (amongst others), the film managed to make back its entire production budget (approximately $12M) in its first day in theaters. The industry should no longer be surprised when a film starring a primarily African American cast proves successful at the box office, but instead should be asking why more of them aren’t made. There is obviously a large audience ready to devour these films. Reviews were mixed but audiences dug what they saw, giving the film an A grade at CinemaScore. This was also the fourth number one film of the year for Sony, following Underworld: Awakening, The Vow and 21 Jump Street.

Debuting in second place was the latest film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, The Lucky One which brought in an estimated $22.8M this weekend, for a per screen average of $7,228. As expected, the film played mostly to young women, with an audience breakdown of 76% female, and 52% under the age of 25. Reviews were mostly poor, but people who are suckers for romance didn’t care as the film garnered a CinemaScore grade of a B+.

Making it a book-to-film trifecta, following its four-week reign at the top — the first film since Avatar to do that — the spring juggernaut The Hunger Games continued to pull in solid business by sliding only 31% to an estimated $14.5M in its fifth round. The Lionsgate smash upped its cume to a staggering $356.9M allowing Katniss and pals to rise up to number 19 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just ahead of the $352.4M of last summer’s 3D threequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The next films to fall to the icy stare of Katniss will be Jurassic Park ($357M), and then Jesus himself in The Passion of the Christ ($370.8M).

Disney’s yearly Earth Day documentary Chimpanzee opened nicely at number four this weekend with an estimated $10.2M. The film opened higher than the Earth Day films from the past three years which included Earth in 2009 ($8.8M opening/$32M total), 2010’s Oceans ($6M/$19.4M) and last year’s African Cats ($6M/$15.4M). I fully expect next year for Disney to hit their pinnacle with a documentary on puppies and kittens putting the past behind them and living together in harmony.

The Three Stooges stumbled to fifth place dropping 46% to an estimated $9M giving Fox $29M after ten days. Look for a final gross in the $45M range for Larry, Moe and Curly (but not Shemp). Falling 47% in its sophomore round was the horror flick The Cabin in the Woods with an estimated $7.7M for a $27M ten-day cume for Lionsgate. Look for a finale in the $40M range. Universal’s comedy fourquel American Reunion collected an estimated $5.2M, off 50%, and has lifted its tally to $48M, which is about what American Pie 2 made in its opening weekend nearly 11 years ago.

James Cameron’s Titanic 3D fell a steep 58% to an estimated $5M and has collected $53M for Paramount during this run. Somehow I don’t imagine Cameron or the studio feel too badly about the dip as the lifetime total now stands at $653M. Sony’s hit comedy 21 Jump Street fared well again dropping only 30% to an estimated $4.6M for an impressive $127M take to date. The stylish fairy tale adventure Mirror Mirror declined by 40% grossing an estimated $4.1M for a $55M sum.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $116M which was up 1.6% from last when Rio stayed in the top spot with $26.3M; and up 35.6% from 2010 when How To Train Your Dragon reclaimed number one with $15.4M in its fifth frame.

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