Weekend Box Office – THINK LIKE A MAN On Top with $33 Million; THE LUCKY ONE Second with $22.8

     April 22, 2012

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After surprising us on Friday with its first-place debut, Think Like A Man has surprised again with its estimated $33 million haul from 2,015 locations.  That is the best per-screen average of the week (wide releases) and it nearly doubles expectations for the comedy. In second place, The Lucky One earned a solid $22.8 million and then there’s The Hunger Games… not sick of hearing about that one yet, are you?

Title Weekend Total
1 Walk Like a Man $33,000,000 $33
2 The Lucky One $22,805,000 $22.8
3 The Hunger Games $14,500,000 $356.9
4 Chimpanzee $10,205,000 $10.2
5 The Three Stooges $9,200,000 $29.3
6 Cabin in the Woods $7,750,000 $26.9
7 American Reunion $5,232,000 $48.2
8 Titanic 3D $5,000,000 $52.8
9 21 Jump Street $4,600,000 $127
10 Mirror, Mirror $4,114,000 $55.2

hunger-games-movie-image-jennifer-lawrence-03Just for old-time’s sake, let’s start out by acknowledging The Hunger Games and its remarkable success. You probably know that it is the first movie since Avatar to claim four weekends at number one; but it has an advantage over the highest-grossing movie of all time: it also spent 28 consecutive days at number one.  Avatar’s run from December 2009 through February 2010 was interrupted a few times – by Sherlock Holmes, The Book of Eli and, finally, Dear John. As of Saturday, The Hunger Games’ domestic total of $356.9 million puts it in the All-Time top twenty, and its worldwide total of $550 million is nothing to sneer at either. So, that’s done. Now we won’t have to talk about Katniss again until the sequel.

think like a man poster taraji p hensonAs I mentioned, the movie that ended the Hunger Games’ reign is the comedy Talk Like A Man.  If you didn’t see it coming, don’t worry.  Almost no one did.  Ever since Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself caught me off-guard in 2009, I have tried not to underestimate African-American cinema. But then, this February, Perry’s Good Deeds came and went with almost no fanfare so, I lose no matter what I write. Just for reference, in three days, Think Like A Man made nearly as much as Good Deeds did over its entire run. In fact, the comedy beat the openings of all Tyler Perry features except Madea Goes To Jail ($41 million in 2009).

So, how did Think Like A Man do it?  First, the film is based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. You may have seen the comedian promoting it during one of his, oh, 57 talk-show appearances this year. Second, it had excellent audience approval ratings and solid marketing.  And third, it had a likable ensemble cast including Gabrielle Union and comedian Kevin Hart.  Box office watchers may recall Hart from another surprise last September: when his independent concert film Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain made almost $2 million in its first weekend in just 98 theatres.

I mentioned yesterday that the smart money was on Warner Bros.’ The Lucky One to take top honors this weekend. That’s because it is another in novelist Nicholas Sparks’ seemingly unending string of popular romantic dramas. Let’s see, there’s The Notebook, of course, and Dear John and… at least four others. The studio kept expectations modest ($15 million), so The Lucky One is now looking like an ‘overperformer’ with its estimated $22.8 million from 3,155 locations.

Friday was Earth Day, which means another documentary release from DisneyNature. The studio’s fourth G-rated feature, Chimpanzees, opened to an estimated $10.2 million from 1,536 locations. That tops the $8.8 million of DisneyNature’s Earth, from 2009, and represents the highest debut in the specialty-label’s history.

In international news, Universal’s much-maligned Battleship looks like its thriving overseas. In ten days the film has earned a reported $125 million from its 50 territories. The film will not open in the US until May 18th so the hope is that solid international numbers will keep this behemoth from sinking.

Next week brings a mixed bag of new releases as the Judd Apatow-produced The Five-Year Engagement, the animated Pirates! Band of Misfits and the Edgar Allan Poe drama The Raven all crowd into theatres. No blockbusters are expected so, unlike last year when summer started in April with Fast Five, 2012’s glory days will have to wait until May… as God intended.

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