Not much changed between Friday night and Sunday morning, at least in terms of box office position. Sony is still on top with Think Like A Man Too, the sequel to 2012’s surprise hit. The studio can also claim the second spot on the chart courtesy of 22 Jump Street, which held remarkably well considering its outsized debut last weekend. How To Train Your Dragon 2 did not hold up quite as well, though it did stay ahead of new comer Jersey Boys. Given the more modest expectations for director Clint Eastwood’s musical adaptation, however, that hardly counts as a victory for the DreamWorks sequel.
|1.||Think Like A Man Too||$30,000,000||$30|
|2.||22 Jump Street||$29,000,000||$111.4|
|3.||How to Train Your Dragon 2||$25,300,000||$95.1|
|6.||Edge of Tomorrow||$10,340,000||$75.5|
|7.||The Fault in Our Stars||$8,600,000||$98.7|
|8.||X-Men: Days of Future Past||$6,200,000||$216.7|
Full story after the break
Unless you’re Sony Pictures or director Tim Story, there’s nothing too thrilling about this weekend’s box office numbers. We already told you that Sony holds the two top spots on this weekend’s top ten with the sequels Think Like A Man Too and 22 Jump Street. For Story, Think Like A Man Too marks his second number one debut of 2014, following January’s Ride Along. Along with their director, Think Too and Ride Along also share a star in Kevin Hart, so scratch that first sentence: unless you’re Sony, Tim Story or Kevin Hart, there’s nothing too thrilling about this weekend’s box office numbers.
Any lack of enthusiasm this weekend may be attributable to the fact that, at this time last year, the box office hosted two massive debuts in Monsters University and World War Z – plus one very muscular holdover in the form of Man of Steel. No disrespect to the team behind Think Too, but a sequel that opens lower than its predecessor (and more than 50% behind last year’s second place film) doesn’t leave box office columnists much to work with.
Back in April 2012, the original Think Like A Man debuted with plenty of excitement. To start, the ensemble comedy knocked The Hunger Games out of first place, ending that film’s remarkable four-week dominance. Most projections had Think Like A Man earning $15 million on its first weekend. Instead, the film took in over $12 million on its first day. Think Like A Man went on to a $33.6 million opening weekend and a $91.5 million domestic total: a windfall for a movie with a $12 million budget.
Much of the credit for Think Like A Man’s success went to co-star Kevin Hart. The comedian first caught the box office’s attention in September 2011, when his standup feature Laugh at My Pain opened with $1.9 million at just 98 locations. The movie never made it into the top ten but, by the time Think Like A Man launched seven months later, the comedian was prominently featured in all marketing materials.
To say that Kevin Hart has become more popular since Think like A Man would be an understatement. In the past year, the comedian has been in five major releases, including a second standup feature, Let Me Explain, which earned over $10 million in its first weekend. Hart’s most impressive box office success came this January, when Ride Along spent two weeks in first place – though his popularity failed a bit when About Last Night hit two weeks later. With all that in mind, most expected Think Like A Man Too to open higher than its predecessor, instead of 10% lower. The sequel also cost at least twice as much as the original, which will make its profit margin slimmer if it matches the first film’s domestic total. So far, audiences seem to like Think Too more than the critics (A- CinemaScore vs. 22% on Rotten Tomatoes) so we’ll see how it holds up in the next few weeks.
This weekend’s second new release also fared better with audiences than with most reviewers – the audiences that showed up to see it, that is. Jersey Boys, Warner Bros.’ big screen adaptation of the very successful Broadway musical, earned an estimated $13.5 million from 2,905 locations this weekend. By comparison, Think Like A Man Too opened in almost 700 fewer locations but earned more than twice as much. To be fair, Jersey Boys was never expected to challenge Think Too for first place. The R-rated drama was projected to open a bit higher ($15 million) but then hold well with those older summer patrons who avoid opening weekends. Jersey Boys received an A- CinemaScore, so that scenario is still a possibility. Any hope that the musical will become a summer hit in the Mamma Mia! mode, however, is pretty much lost.
In terms of last weekend’s big sequel showdown, 22 Jump Street retained its lead over How to Train Your Dragon 2 with no apparent trouble. The comedy crossed the $100 million mark on Saturday and was down just 49% from its big opening last weekend. Due to the size of that launch (and the age of the film’s target demographic), 22 Jump Street was expected to be down by a higher percentage in its second outing; but, like Neighbors before it, this weekend proves that a likable comedy can have remarkable staying power despite an R-rating.
How to Train Your Dragon 2, on the other hand – what can we say? After the sequel failed to deliver an opening commensurate with expectations, there was a strong suspicion that its sophomore hold would prove its box office potential. How to Train 2 ended up falling by 49%, which isn’t bad – it’s just far from exceptional. In 2010, How to Train Your Dragon was down 33% in its second week, and under 14% the week after that. So far, the sequel has had decent weekday numbers and should pass the $100 million mark by Tuesday. But for a film that was widely expected to be at the top of summer grosses, that remains far from ideal.
If this weekend lacked in box office thrills, next week should make up for it with Transformers: Age of Extinction. The first three films in the Transformers series were all summer blockbusters: earning a combined total of over $1 billion in North America alone. The last feature, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, opened with $97.8 million in June of 2011. Opening on the same weekend three years later, Age of Extinction should come close to that figure. If it doesn’t, we may have to call 2014’s summer box office season early.