It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but “The Hunger Games” not only fell from the top spot after four weeks… it was pulverized. The Steve Harvey-powered “Think Like a Man” took advantage of a big ad campaign to debut to unprecedented numbers, scoring massive 'A' level approval from audiences reporting to Cinemascore while almost tripling its reported $12 million budget. This is the third big hit for Sony’s Screen Gems division this year, following “Underworld: Awakening” and “The Vow.” Not really the best studio to encourage, guys.
Most didn’t expect the ensemble film to break out in this manner, as they chose to ignore the fact that “Think Like a Man” had been testing better than any Sony film in recent memory. They also neglected the fact that, while the picture had a large cast, they made the decision to spotlight comedian Kevin Hart front-and-center during the ad campaign. Hart’s dabbled in a number of big movies, though he scored an out-of-the-blue limited release hit with last year’s “Laugh At My Pain,” and his exposure has been growing exponentially in the eyes of the mainstream — he’s also in next week’s “The Five-Year Engagement.” This opening is in the ballpark of Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too?” which used a similarly strong cast to grab $29 million in its first three days. Expect “Think Like a Man” to hold up much stronger.
Count this as another big hit for romance novelist Nicholas Sparks. “The Lucky One” is looking to open in the territory of another Zac Efron picture, the comedy “17 Again,” which grabbed $23 million three years ago. In the interim, Efron starred in the considerably more serious “Charlie St. Cloud,” which did half that business in its opening weekend, though this latest release is something of an effective rebound for the former child star. It comes in slightly below “Dear John” as the biggest opening for a Sparks adaptation, and it’s unlikely to surpass Sparks’ “The Notebook” and its $81 million take, but these are still stats that keep the author viable and continue Efron’s leading man circulation.
“The Hunger Games” may have dropped two spots in the lineup, but its drops have stabilized, and it’s still got some strong legs headed into the end of April. Again, the film looks to be a major player for $400 million domestic, a number the studio would like to reach to offset the less-than-robust international tally (possibly $600 million worldwide). Whatever the case, the first in this series still ran the studio under $100 million — will they break the bank on the sequel, or try to keep future budgets consistent a la “Twilight”?
Disney got surprising news from their release of “Chimpanzee.” The nature doc out-grossed the opening frame for their last three animal features, as neither “African Cats” nor “Oceans“ or “Earth” could surpass eight figures in their first weekends. Never underestimate some cute monkeys. Appropriately, the film came in just above “The Three Stooges,” which actually only lost about half its audience despite some tepid word of mouth.
Speaking of which, word of mouth might have given a little extra life to “Cabin in the Woods.” Last weekend’s Cinemascore wasn’t particularly strong, though it was an unconventional horror film that opened on Friday the 13th, so its second weekend was always looking like a 65%-plus audience drop, and not the less-than-half that the film actually registered. Expectations weren’t actually strong for the Lionsgate castoff, but it's performing at a steady level. Does Lionsgate surrender some of those screens in the near future, or might they hope for nerd spillover from “The Avengers” in two weeks?
Two relics of the '90s continue to battle it out. In weekend three, “American Reunion” is almost eclipsing $50 million, a decent showing for a long-dormant franchise despite that gross being less than half of the first film’s take. Hey, inflation hasn’t yet hit the pastry industry. “Titanic 3D,” meanwhile, has performed strongly stateside but has gone absolutely supernova overseas, and this re-release will surpass $300 million globally any minute now; “Titanic” has already become the second-ever $2 billion dollar film. Test that man for steroids, because James Cameron keeps hitting it out of the park.
It’s very likely that again, the lowest drop in the top ten belonged to “21 Jump Street.” The TV spinoff should pass $130 million next weekend and finish its unpredictable run as one of Sony’s most unexpected hits, particularly given a budget said to be in the realm of $40-$50 million. Meanwhile, “Mirror Mirror” continues bringing in decent stateside numbers as its overseas tally approaches nine figures.
In limited release, the biggest winner was "Marley," which yah-man-ed $260k at forty two locations. On a per-screen level, the biggest support went to "Darling Companion," which had four theaters and a $46k total. Drama "My Way" had a hard go of it, however, with twenty two theaters allowing the film to gross a small $16k, a per-screen slightly over $700. Also debuting quietly was "Jesus Henry Christ," which grabbed $9.3k at three locations. Support your local arthouse theater.
1. Stink Like A Man (Sony/Screen Gems) – $33million
2. Zac Efron Is… Hot Soldier (Warner Bros.) – $22.8 million
3. The Hunger Pains (Lionsgate) – $14.5 million ($357 mil.)
4. Chimpanzee (Disney) – $10.2 million
5. The Three Stooges (Fox) – $9.2 million ($29 mil.)
6. Cabin In The Woods (Lionsgate) – $7.7 million ($27 mil.)
7. American Reunion (Universal) – $5.2 million ($48 mil.)
8. For Nostalgic Girlfriends 3D (Paramount) – $5 million ($53 mil.)
9. 21 Jump Street (Sony) – $4.6 million ($127 mil.)
10. Mirror Mirror (Relativity) – $4.1 million ($55 mil.)