It was bound to happen; The Hunger Games was going to fall from first. But this week it didn’t just take a small tumble, it fell to a double threat of romance – one a comedy, the other a drama with a strong box office pedigree. The Steve Harvey book-inspired Think Like a Man ran away with the weekend almost making three times its reported $12 million budget. With its $33 million earnings Man is the third hit for Sony’s Screen Gems this year, following Underworld: Awakening and The Vow.
Seeing very little advertising for Think Like a Man, what ads I did see I was surprised that comedian Kevin Hart was the central figure in the campaign. I seriously doubt it was his appearances in Soul Plane and Fool’s Gold that made the advertisers go “Now that’s who we need to put our marketing behind.” It may be due more to the fact that he had a small hit last year with the comedy concert documentary Laugh at My Pain. Add to the fact that he is also in the upcoming comedy release The Five-Year Engagement, his exposure is helping to bridge that gap into the mainstream. Frankly, I was more surprised at seeing Regina Hall in an ensemble comedy without the words “Scary” and “Movie” in the title.
A number like $33 million makes it comparable to a Tyler Perry release in terms of earnings, bettering the likes of his 2010 release, Why Did I Get Married, Too? ($29 million), but falling just short of Madea Goes to Jail‘s $41 million haul.
Zac Efron may have put his high school musical days behind him (unless there’s a ten-year reunion taking place in 2018), but he still hasn’t quite taken to growing up. While he may not be pretending to be a high schooler at age 25, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt was when he made Brick, a year prior JGL made Mysterious Skin, a film that all but stripped away his 3rd Rock from the Sun TV image. The Lucky One marks the latest Nicholas Sparks romance novel to become a hit film release, and with Efron as its star it is yet another Sparks romance to feature another Disney mouseketeer graduate, following Miley Cyrus in The Last Song and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. Fortunately for The Lucky One it bares stronger resemblance to the latter more than the former. And that’s mostly because of the chemistry between the two leads, Efron and newcomer Taylor Schilling.
Coming in third was The Hunger Games. Collecting $14.5 million for your fifth week in release isn’t a bad figure at all. With $356 million in earnings thus far, it has an outside shot of making $400 million domestic and could make a strong case for joining the billion dollar club if it can do gangbusters overseas (currently it has made $216 million in foreign territories).
Released under its Disneynature label, Chimpanzee proved to be a hit for the studio made famous by a animated mouse. It is the first nature doc release from Disney to make eight figures in its opening weekend. Apparently, kids just love watching chimps in the wild trying to do things that seem rudimentary to us, like breaking open nuts using large logs or rocks. Its $10.2 million was enough to finish above The Three Stooges, which only lost 46% of its first-week audience despite bad word of mouth (myself included).
Whereas word of mouth may have played a role in seeing audiences avoid eyepokes and other cartoonish violence, it may have helped The Cabin in the Woods. On the shelf for three years, unlike most horror releases that see drops of 60% or more in the second week, Woods had a sub-50% drop. The question now is if Lionsgate will try to keep it prevalent in theaters post-Avengers, and produce some TV ads putting more emphasis on writer-producer Joss Whedon and Thor star Chris Hemsworth.
In the battle of Remember the ’90s you had American Reunion duking it out with Titanic 3D. Both have made around $50 million each. That’s a good number for Reunion, as the driving force of the comedy is nostalgia more than anything else. Titanic is continuing its global jugguarnaut ways. It’s very close to surpassing $300 million. With the conversion to 3D and re-release, Titanic has become the second film to earn over $2 billion dollars.
21 Jump Street is already an unexpected comedy hit for Sony Pictures and will finally cross $130 million by this time next weekend. Look for it to do even better when the Blu-ray comes out near the end of the summer blockbuster season as a new school year begins. As for Mirror Mirror, which completes this week’s top 10, it may not be an outright hit, but once it open in more foreign territories, it could very well be. After four weekends it has made $119 million worldwide (its reported budget is $85 million).
Only four new releases in limited release this week. They included Magnolia’s Marley documentary. It took in $260k from forty two locations. However, the biggest per-screen average for limited releases went to the Lawrence Kasden’s Darling Companion. Kasden’s first directorial effort since 2003′s Dreamcatcher, earned $46k at four theaters. Dramas My Way and Jesus Henry Christ made $16k and $9.3k respectively.