Director Tim Story and Producer Will Packer Talk the Challenges of the Sequel, Going to Vegas, Cameos, and More on the Set of THINK LIKE A MAN TOO

     May 26, 2014


The ensemble comedy Think Like A Man, inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man, was a huge hit, naturally leading to a sequel that will be bringing all of the couples back for a wedding in Las Vegas, when it hits theaters on June 20th, what was supposed to be a romantic weekend goes terribly awry when their various misadventures, and the bachelor and bachelorette parties, get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.

Back on June 13, 2013, Collider was invited, along with a handful of other press, to visit the Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino set of Think Like A Man Too and chat with the cast and filmmakers.  During a group interview, producer Will Packer and director Tim Story, talked about the challenges of this sequel, how they started talking about possible ideas once they finished the first film, why they chose Las Vegas as the setting, working with such a fearless cast, keeping the PG-13 ratings, where the story is headed this time, and working cameos into the film in an organic way.  Check out what they had to say after the jump. 

think-like-a-man-too-posterQuestion:  How did you approach the sequel, when the first movie was based on a book, but there isn’t a second book?

WILL PACKER:  Sequels are usually lose-lose propositions.  You already have an audience that liked the first movie and is invested in it.  That’s the only reason sequel conversation even comes up.  So, you really can only disappoint your fans.  We entered into a tough proposition the first time because it was a beloved book.  It was a book that had done very, very well and had a built-in fan base, and we were trying to do a cinematic retelling of that.  That’s tough.  It was a book that didn’t have any narrative or characters, so we went about creating the characters.  That was really the tough part.  So then, to come back and do a sequel when we already had characters that had resonated with people and that people had connected with, it was a challenge, but it was a fun challenge.  It was very different from the first one. 

Tim, did you already know that you wanted to do the sequel? 

TIM STORY:  We definitely started talking about ideas, once we finished the first film.  The characters and us, behind the scenes, are all really close friends.  We just wanted to take this group that everybody fell in love with on another adventure.  It seemed like it would be wrong, if we didn’t explore it.  So, we started talking about it pretty soon after we had a cut of the movie.  

PACKER:  It’s like a family, so the truth of that is that, within each family, you’ve got all these different personalities.  Kevin Hart is the resident gambler.  He gambles a lot, anyway.  Michael Ealy is the resident player who teases the women.  Any particular weekend, we would be in Vegas with them, anyway.  So, I told Tim [Story], “You know what?  Let’s just film it.  Let’s shoot this shit!  Kevin is going to be spending too much money.  Taraji [P. Henson] is going to have her hair done.  Michael is going to be looking at girls with those eyes.  Let’s just shoot this shit, and we’ll call it a sequel.”  And the studio fell for it. 

What was it like working with this cast?

think-like-a-man-too-regina-hall-taraji-p-hensonSTORY:  They’re great!  They’re like sisters and brothers.  We just have a lot of fun.  When we are not filming on set, and even back in L.A., we hang out.  And we’ve hung out a lot in Vegas.  We’re truly a family.  It’s like hanging around with your brothers and sisters.

PACKER:  This cast is fearless.  The reality is that, for the cast, a sequel is a risk.  It makes a lot of sense from the studio standpoint.  As a producer, I don’t mind saying that the studio stands to gain.  The first one was a success, so why wouldn’t you make a second.  Even for myself, as a producer, it’s about exploiting a brand that we already have.  For the cast, they created a character that their fans fell in love with, and now they’re putting those characters back out there.  That’s tough to do.  That’s a big risk, and it’s a professional risk.  But each and every one of those actors, I will honestly say accepted the challenge, and accepted it head-on.  They said, “You know what?  Let’s do it!  Let’s go again.  Let’s go back to the well.  I will give you everything that I’ve got.”  In some shape or fashion, I had a conversation, along those lines, with each of them.  So, I thank them for that because that’s the magic.  They’re why it all worked.  It’s a great brand, the writing is good and the backdrop is great, but without each of them, it would be nothing. 

On the first film, you didn’t cross the line into the R rating.  But now, you’ve taken everybody to Sin City, so are you still not crossing lines? 

think-like-a-man-too-kevin-hart-romany-malcoSTORY:  We’ve just moved the line.  We still get close to it, though.  We know where our audience stands.  It’s still a PG-13.  We talk about relationships and sex, but we still stay with the PG-13. 

Since you don’t have a book as your guide with this film, where are you taking the story?

PACKER:  It’s about the same couples.  We got them together in the first one.  This one is about them coming to Sin City for a wedding.  You’ve got the bachelor and bachelorette parties.  It’s about the same relationships that we saw form in the first one, and whether they can survive against the backdrop of Vegas.  It’s one thing to live in L.A., New York, Chicago, Atlanta or whatever, with your significant other, but it’s another thing to go and drop that same relationship in the middle of Las Vegas.  It’s the international iconic city of sin.  Will it survive?  We have a lot of fun answering that question. 

Ensemble comedies are becoming a big thing in Hollywood, and Think Like A Man was quite a bit funnier than most.  Were you satisfied with the level of cross-over appeal that you had, or do you think you could have pushed it even more?

PACKER:  As a producer, I always think that you can have more, and we certainly plan to pus it more, this time.  I believe in just making a really good movie.  If you build it, they will come. 

What do Kelsey Grammer and Adam Brody and the new characters bring to this ensemble?

STORY:  We did something that was really special in the first film where we were able to make a lot of the cameos seem organic to the storytelling, but at the same time, give you a wow factor.  So this time around, I told Will that he had to up it, and he came through.  We have a lot of great guys, like Kelsey, who was just a last-minute thing.  He was my first choice.  He plays Lauren’s boss.  And we had Floyd Mayweather.  We got a lot of great cameos.  It’s become our thing to have a lot of great cameos, but at the same time, make them organic to the story.         

Think Like A Man Too opens in theaters on June 20th.

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  • JD

    Has Tim Story ever made a good movie? Or not even good, but serviceable or slightly entertaining?

    • dolphin558

      IMO, Yes. I hesitate to provide examples because I don’t want to delve into a debate over whether X film should be included. At the end of the day it’s one man’s opinion. tl:dr – Yes.

      • Pk

        Didn’t he direct the first two awful fantastic four movies

      • dolphin558

        He directed the first two F4 movies, yes.

    • MJ

      Barbershop was the only good movie this dude ever directed.

  • MJ

    Should I have heard of this?

    Is this another Boondock Saints thing where they put out an over-marketed sequel to a supposed great first movie that no one has ever heard of?

    • Norrtron

      No, Boondock Saints was huge cult film. Think Like A Man came out last year and made a lot of money at the box office finishing number 1 two weeks in a row. There couldn’t be a worse comparison.

      • MJ

        No one in my circle of friends or family had ever heard of Boondock Saints until they started that marketing campaign for that sequel a couple of years back. The original Boondock Saints only grossed $30,000 in general release, and the sequel, which was marketed heavily, only made $10M worldwide. And both movies couldn’t even crack 25% on the RT main rating. Case closed.

        And sorry, but I have never heard of Think Like a Man either. And in checking Box office Mojo, it didn’t even crack $100M total worldwide. True, it did better than the Saints movies, but not hitting $100M total worldwide these days is akin to the vast majority of the movie going public having not seen it – that’s a fact.

        So I think my comparison is actually pretty good.

      • Norrtron

        How old are you?

      • MJ

        Whatever, dude. You would be well advised to pay as much attention to the information you are providing here in your own posts as you are to mine. You claimed above that Think Like a Man “came out last year.” Wrong! It came out in April 2012, over two years ago.

        Now that is the kind of mistake that a kid could make. ;-)

      • zona

        Do you know what comparison means? Think Like A Man got a wide release, Boondock Saints did not. Also your idea that not hitting $100 mil means that the vast majority didn’t go see it is false. It opened at #1 at the box office in its first weekend meaning it succeeded. It’s total haul was $96 mil and it turned a large profit which means plenty of people saw it. No one saw Boondock Saints. It gained a cult following once it hit DVD which allowed for a sequel to be funded years later. The two are not even remotely comparable.

      • Norrtron

        Thank you.

      • MJ

        I have yet to meet an actual person who actually saw Boondock Saints before the sequel was publicized. Congrats that apparently 2 of the 75 people that saw the first movie happen to be posting here.

        And please, enough with the crap on Think Like a Man being this big supposed hit. In it’s entire box office run, it never topped $100M. And for those two #1 weeks, it was a fracking mid-April release in 2012, 3 weeks after Hunger Games and 2 weeks before Avengers — NO OTHER MAJOR MOVIE was targeting the period in between those huge tent-pole releases. It’s competition was from movies like Chimpanzee and The Lucky One…and no, for the life of me, I don’t recall those minor movies either. So congrats that this movie that not a lot of people saw was fortunate to at least make some respectable cash for a two-week window in between huge tentpoles. Again though, this was a hardly a major movie release by any stretch of the imagination.

        For your sakes though, I will be hoping for a Boondock Saints – Think Like a Man crossover movie. LOL

      • dolphin558

        I am with Norrtron here.

        MJ’s quote: “And sorry, but I have never heard of Think Like a Man either. ”

        I wish I had seen that quote first. It would have saved me alot of time reading his other comments. Sigh* I’ll bite…

        He’s basing a film’s sequel merits on whether he’s heard of TLAM. Judging by your comments, I doubt the film was aimed at you (however, it was definitely aimed at my demographic and I thought it was excellent, as did everyone else I spoke to in that demographic. A sequel was a foregone conclusion). Secondly, you bring up the $100m in gross and paint that as a failure not taking into account that a) by that logic the first Austin Powers should never have been made, b) the film is timed perfectly to ride the bow wave of Kevin Hart’s ascending boxoffice popularity, and most importantly, c) the film cost only $12m to make.

      • MJ

        Wasn’t commenting on the demographic it was targeted at, or whether it made a profit based on a modest production budget. Obviously it did make a profit based on that figure — congrats!

        I don’t know if your “demographic” comments are meant to be a code sort of statement that you assume I am not African American, or not a Twenty-something, or whatever, but I would point out that Boondock Saints would obviously have a completely different demographic target from TLAM, and I covered that movie as well here for similar reasons. I am practicing equal opportunity criticisms concerning the supposed “major movie status” of what in reality are minor movies that most people in general never saw in the theaters — without respect to any “demographic” constraints.

        And I will also correct you. I am in no way commenting on the merits of either film. I am commenting on whether these films are major releases that a lot of the movie-going public worldwide knows about and gets excited about — they are simply not in this category (FYI – TLAM only made $4M internationally…ONLY $4M !!!). Merit-wise, perhaps these movie are the next Godfather or Gravity for all I know. Now that I have heard of them, maybe I’ll check them out on Netflix.

      • zona

        The fact of the matter is, you don’t know what a successful movie is. You clearly have no concept of math if you can’t figure out that a $96 mil box office draw from a $12 mil budget is a huge profit. It also wasn’t meant to be a “hit” internationally. Not every movie is a summer blockbuster. Until you know a little more about the business of filmmaking stick to just watching for entertainment and not worrying about using that brain.

      • MJ

        You keep trying to re-define the discussion. I said that the movie was not seen by the vast majority of the movie-going public, and therefore, most people would be unfamiliar with it or barely recall it.. It made less than $100M globally, which means that it doesn’t even make the Top 50 list of Global Box Office for films of that year.

        In fact, it’s NOT EVEN IN THE TOP 70 for Global Box office for 2012. This is a FACT. See:

        Dude, it finished in 72nd place. LOL

        72ND PLACE !!!!!

        This completely proves my point. No one should be expected to recollect many movies that don’t even make the Top 50 for a given year, let alone the Top 70. That would be ludicrous to expect that.

        And can you be a movie that most people have not heard of or barely recollect, and still make a profit versus low production costs. Sure! I never said that was not the case.

      • zona

        Trying to explain how business works to you is like speaking to a child. The movie was a success. It turned a huge profit (that means it made a lot more money than it cost to make). The producers then thought to themselves, if we make a sequel for the same amount of money will the same number of people go see it? If so, then the sequel is warranted because it will make money. They aren’t hoping “most people” will see it. They’re hoping that the demographic they’re targeting will see it (e.g urban African-Americans not suburban white folks. And yes I am white and heard about this movie). Once again, not all movies are made for everyone to see it. That is clearly a foreign concept to you. Do you think Tyler Perry gives a rats ass if most people see his films? No, because he makes money hand over fist anyway. Finishing in the top 50 doesn’t matter to them. You don’t compare the box office to that of other films, you compare it to the budget, what is cost to make the film. (that means that they take the budget and subtract it from the profit. So 96 – 12 = 84 which equals a lot of money). Saying it didn’t make 100 mil so it failed is stupid because it only fell 4 mil short which is nothing when talking about dollar values that high.

        And stop it with these broad “no one” “everyone” comments. You don’t know what everyone thinks or what everyone saw. Why don’t you ask a black friend, if you have any, if they saw or heard of the film? You know a very small number of people in the grand scheme of things and thus have a very small sample size with which to judge what people see. Again, this is not a summer blockbuster and putting it in April up against nothing is a smart business decision. Studios try to find open weekends away from huge moneymakers in order to turn a profit just like this. And on that note, I’m done trying to explain how business works to a dumbass

      • dolphin558

        Thank you zona, smh.

      • MJ

        Again, dude, you are trying to make this into a completely different argument about whether the movie made a profit or not. I agree, it made a profit. I never said it didn’t.

        And then lowering yourself to pull out the race card? What is up with that?

        Hey Einstein, if this about race, then why would I have included Boondock Saints as part of my argument? Makes no sense?

        So let me make myself perfectly clear:

        1. My point has NOTHING to do whether TLAM made a profit or not.

        2. My point has NOTHING to do with the target demographics of either TLAM or Boondock Saints.

        You are trying to steer this discussion into the two above areas because you cannot refute my core argument where I showed — through actually numbers/figures — that neither of these movies are major releases that most of the movie-going public on this planet would be aware of.

        You can’t refute this, and so you try to divert the discussion into these ancillary topics. I am not taking the bait.

      • dolphin558

        *scratching my head wondering why he keeps bringing up foreign box-office as if that should be a measure of success in the case of TLAM*

      • MJ

        Then you are simply not paying attention.

      • Norrtron

        You act like a little child, in your mind everyone else is wrong but somehow you think you’re right.