It’s Kevin Hart: A star in one comedy, just some guy in another.
There’s probably a morale wrapped up in this weekend’s box office that goes something like this. Just because a movie has ethnic stars does not mean it is for a specific demographic. Think Like a Man doesn’t make $60 million in two weeks just because it has a large cast of actors that are usually regulated to sidekick roles in more broader comedies with marketable white stars in lead positions. It makes $60 million because other demographics have decided they want to see a romance that involves issues that permeate in relationships today. Despite its mixed critical reactions (currently at 51% on RT), the ensemble rom-com has a committed cast at making it work. Much more so than Garry Marshall’s insipid Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve. Kevin Hart, who is the poster child (read: the guy who is marketed the most) for Think Like a Man also has a supporting role in the release of The Five-Year Engagement, which finished the weekend in fourth place with $11.15 million. Unfortunately, Hart slides into the sidekick, supporting role and is only given brief moments in which to illicit laughter. Playing on a little more than 2000 screens, the Screen Gems comedy is just a few million away of become the studio’s third biggest hit of 2012 behind 21 Jump Street and The Vow. With a reported budget of $12 million to produce (three of the new releases topped out over $26 million), the profit margin will be wide even if foreign audiences don’t gravitate to the material or the actors and actresses involved.
Families looking for escapism only had one new release. Aardman’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits finished in second with $11.4 million. Without the name recognition of a Pixar or DreamWorks Animation, or noted A-list celebrities lending their voices, it did about as well as it could have. But it had a close battle with The Lucky One, which lost half of its first-week audience to end the weekend just above $11.3 million.
Some movie called The Hunger Games (I hear it’s based off a book) is still raking in the dough. This blockbuster freight train from late March continues to make money and has been a top five staple for six weeks. Whether or not it will remain in the top five next week, will all depend how gargantuan release The Avengers is surely to be. The numbers will definitely be skewed, with the Marvel Comics’ epic taking a majority of the money, leaving the rest of the competition in the dust.
Judd Apatow may be losing some of his mojo. Aside from Bridesmaids, he has failed at producing hits of late. Wanderlust was a bomb, and his third directorial effort from a few years ago, Funny People was a disappointment. As the third film from Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller (after Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to Greek), The Five-Year Engagement opened to poor returns ($11.15 million). Their previous collaborations opened in the $17 million range. Apatow’s own This is 40, opening in theaters this Christmas, may be his last-ditch effort with the studio and be the deciding factor if they continue to do business together or have an amicable split.
If you have said to yourself that the theater is in dire need of Jason Statham punching and kicking things, well you are in luck. Lionsgate’s Safe continues the yearly tradition of getting a Statham movie to the cineplex. He’s like a Saw or Paranormal Activity franchise. Only this time the stories and locations change but it’s pretty much the same movie over and over again. At $7.7 million after one weekend, I wouldn’t call Statham’s film a safe bet for box office success. Besides, what kind of guy goes to a movie called Safe anyway? It needs to be called Danger! Danger!
John Cusack may have been hoping for film renaissance with The Raven, a film that for the longest time looked like it could have become a franchise to rival Robert Downey Jr.’s interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, but when you have the director of V for Vendetta at the helm (who also did the regrettable Ninja Assassin), then you had to suspect that Cusack would have been better off dead than better off playing Edgar Allan Poe.
In its second weekend, audiences were still going bananas for Chimpanzee, Disney’s latest nature doc that looks to be doing better than the last few Disneynature releases. At this rate to finish around $25 to $30 million is a big win for the studio. Rounding out the list is Fox’s The Three Stooges, which has been somewhat successful on the account that it is just occupying space that should have gone to the much better Cabin in the Woods. The Joss Whedon produced (he also co-wrote the screenplay) horror comedy had been collecting dust for a number of years. Now finally seeing the late of day it has amassed $35 million in three weeks. Next stop – $40 million, with an outside chance at $50 million.
On the independent front, Best Foreign Film nominee Monsieur Lazhar saw a 33-screen expansion and brought in $252k as a result. Newcomers Bernie and Sound of My Voice opened to decent returns. The Richard Linklater comedy (mockumentary?) starring Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey had a per-screen average of $30k at 3 locations, while Fox Searchlight’s psycho drama opened at five locations to $40k.
And overseas, The Avengers has broken several box office records, assembling a mighty fortune. Already the film has grossed more than $178.4 million. What do you think it will do when it opens in the U.S./Canada on Friday, May 4th? If The Hunger Games can do $152 million opening weekend, surely this can make an effort to surpass Harry Potter‘s $169 million haul for the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Tags: box office, box office report, Chimpanzee, Safe, The Avengers, The Cabin In The Woods, The Five-Year Engagement, The Hunger Games, the pirates band of misfits, The Raven, The Three Stooges, Think Like A Man, weekend box office
Source: Box Office Mojo