As already noted, box office expectations appear to be high for the upcoming ensemble comedy, Think Like A Man, which opens in theaters exactly 1 week from today, April 20, 2012.
The film reportedly received record-setting test-screening scores, almost off the charts – the highest test scoring film in the history of Sony Screen Gems, the film's distributor.
And producer Will Packer of Rainforest Films says that it's the company's best work to date.
There has also been chatter about the film's cross-over potential.
So just how well we can expect the film to do at the box office on opening weekend? I haven't settled on a figure yet, but it does help to know that, as I just learned, the film will open on 1800 screens – the second highest number of screens of all films opening that weekend – 1200 screens less than the film opening on the highest number of screens, The Lucky One which stars Zac Efron (based on a Nicholas Sparks book).
That's a significant number, and will likely be the difference maker that weekend, in the battle for the #1 spot.
You'll recall that in a previous post earlier this week, I suggested that Think Like A Man could open at number 1, with The Lucky One being its main competition; but at the time, theater counts weren't yet available. And now that I have them, I can say with some certainty that it'll probably open at #2; unless The Lucky One turns out to be a mega flop, which I'm guessing it won't be, given the star, the fact that it's based on a work by a popular author whose past works have also been adapted to film, and have done well; and finally, taking into consideration today's news that there'll be a 1200 screen difference between both films, favoring the latter.
The the only other film opening WIDE that April 20th weekend is a G-rated Disney documentary titled Chimpanzees, which is for the family, so if parents feel like taking their kids to see this, it could also do well. But when was the last time a documentary opened at number 1 on any weekend? Probably in 2004, when Michael Moore's incendiary Fahrenheit 9/11 opened with over $23 million. However, different subject, different time altogether.
And Chimpanzees is opening on 300 fewer screens than Think Like A Man; so, close enough that, if families turn out to see the doc, it could very well slip past the latter film.
I'll go on record and say that I don't expect that to happen.
The high audience test scores aside, Think Like A Man has a lot going for it, notably the fact that it's based on a best-selling book, the author of that book has a large following and, I'm sure, will push his fans to go see the film adaptation; the marketing machine behind it has been quite active for a few months already; and as Vanessa posted a couple of days ago on, there's a strong awareness of the film with almost 85 percent of black audiences knowing about it, and a whopping 70 percent having “definite interest” in seeing it.
So I expect that group to go out in force on opening weekend.
The Rainforest guys have got a pretty good track record with their last few theatrically released films – Obsessed shocked the world and opened at $28 million, and went onto make close to $70 million; before that, This Christmas opened at $18 million, and made $50 in total; and prior to that, Stomp The Yard opened at $21 million and ended up with a $61 million box office take. Finally, Takers opened at just over $20 million, and grossed almost $60 million.
So, on average, their films are raking in about $60 million in ticket sales, with their budgets growing with from film to film. Stomp The Yard & This Christmas had estimated budgets of $13 million; Obsessed's tab was about $20 million; and Takers tops them all at $32 million. I don't know what the budget for Think Like A Man was yet.
April 20 is 1 week from today, so let's see how things shake out. I plan to do one of my "Guess The Box Opening Weekend Bo Office Numbers" competition next week, so get your figures ready :)
Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that the Bob Marley documentary which we've covered quite a bit, also opens next week Friday; but in limited release on 45 screens around the country. But I expect per-screen averages for that will be solid.