The Hunger Games is no longer king of the box office, though its nearly month-long run will be remembered for years to come.
Sony and Steve Harvey’s Think Like A Man, Warner’s The Lucky One with Zac Efron, and Disney’s annual Earth Day documentary offering Chimpanzee joined former champ The Hunger Games to help perk up the North American box office after an unmemorable performance a week prior.
Take Steve Harvey’s best-selling self-help book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, add an ensemble cast that includes popular comedian Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Gabrielle Union and Romany Malco, and shrewdly market the hell out of it, and you will end up with a number one movie whose opening numbers were double even the most promising pre-release estimates. Sony’s Think Like A Man opened on a moderately wide release of 2,015 theaters and went on to earn a terrific $33.3 million for a per screen average of $16,377, the third highest of the year. Overall the Think Like A Man opening was the seventh biggest of 2012 thus far.
While Think Like A Man was targeted at the male African-American audience aged 18-49, the big opening and demographic breakdown (63 percent of the audience was female and 62 percent were over the age of 30) for the $12 million relationship comedy, directed by Tim Story (Barbershop), definitely dictated otherwise. And since the majority of the audience was adult and gave the film an ‘A’ CinemaScore, there is a good chance that the movie should continue its winning ways over the next few weeks.
In the 1990s, John Grisham film adaptations usually translated into a decent opening en route to a healthy box office run. In the new millennium, that honor belongs to author Nicholas Sparks. The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Dear John and The Last Song all performed very well during their box office runs.
Warner’s The Lucky One, a romantic drama starring Zach Efron and Taylor Schilling, opened in 3,155 theaters to earn a solid $22.8 million in joining the Sparks success list. The film earned some savage reviews from critics, but ticket buyers and fans of Sparks’ work could care less what they had to say by bestowing it with a ‘B+’ via CinemaScore.
After a month at the top spot, Katniss abdicated the throne to Think Like a Man and The Lucky One as The Hunger Games dropped from first to third place. But don’t feel too bad for the Lionsgate release or its stars including Jennifer Lawrence. The movie lost only 31% of its audience from the previous weekend to earn an estimated $14.5 million. After five weeks, the mega-blockbuster has earned a great $356.9 million. Add to that total an additional $215 million from overseas markets, and you have a movie on track to hitting the $600 million mark within the next week or so.
The Hunger Games entered the top 20 all-time domestic grossing films (pre-inflation) this weekend by sliding into the number 19 spot, between last year’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($352 million) and the original Jurassic Park ($357 million). Given the film’s durability at the box office thus far, The Hunger Games could finish its domestic run near the $390 million mark which would place it just a few places outside the all-time top ten domestic grossing films.
For the past few years, the Disneynature division has released a documentary on or around Earth Day. This year, Chimps are the subject of said documentary. Opening on 1,563 screens, Chimpanzee earned a solid $10.2 million for a good per-screen gross of $6,529. The film opened higher than the three previous Earth Day offerings, Earth ($8.8 million), Oceans ($6 million) and African Cats (also $6 million).
Rounding out the top five this weekend was Fox’s comedy The Three Stooges, which eased 46% in its second round to earn an estimated $9.2 million on 3,482 screens. To date, Moe Larry and Curly have goofed around to the tune of $29.3 million. A $45 million final gross for the $30 million Farrelly Brothers production is possible.
The remainder of the top ten is as follows:
6. The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate) $7.7 million (-47%) $26.9 million to date
7. American Reunion (Universal) $5.2 million (-50%) $48.3 million
8. Titanic 3D (Paramount) $5 million (-58%) $52.8 million
9. 21 Jump Street (Sony) $4.6 million (-30%) $127 million
10. Mirror Mirror (Relativity Pictures) $4.1 million (-40%) $55.2 million
Next weekend, four wide releases enter the final fray of the spring movie season prior to the arrival of Disney and Marvel’s The Avengers on May 4. Those films are Universal’s The Five-Year Engagement, Sony’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Lionsgate’s Safe and Relativity’s The Raven. Think Like a Man will need another strong performance to follow in the multi-weekend top finisher path of The Hunger Games.
– Shawn Fitzgerald