Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

April 23, 2012

Congratulations, have a car wreck on your way home.

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Cleavage, cleavage, cleavage, bacon, cleavage.

Kim Hollis: To the complete shock of a Canadian named Reagen, Think Like a Man debuted to $33.76 million, and thereby became the unlikely trivia answer as the movie that knocked The Hunger Games out of first place. How did Screen Gems pull off such a stellar result for a $12 million production?

David Mumpower: First and foremost, the ads were hysterical. Since the first time I watched the trailer several months ago, I have laughed every time I hear "That is a *short* skirt." Sometimes a distributor catches a break when they release the perfect movie right as an actor is ascending in popularity. We witnessed this with Adam Sandler in The Waterboy, Mike Myers with the original Wayne's World and even all the way back when people were first discovering Eddie Murphy with Trading Places/48 Hours. Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain was a wildly lucrative property relative to its sub-$1 million budget. That film has also absolutely wrecked home video relative to expectations. Hart is a hilarious human being who has evolved beyond the gradual discovery phase into a known commodity, and the Think Like a Man commercials cleverly emphasized his presence in a cast of ~15 known actors. The most recent batch of Kevin Hart quotes about Kevin Hart's performance are the types of jokes that could smack of desperation for say The Three Stooges. With Think Like a Man, they felt pitch perfect. I fully expected this to break out a bit yet even I am taken aback by a $33 million debut. That's a massive number for non-sequel comedy.


Matthew Huntley: Most analysts predicted Think Like A Man would open somewhere between $17-$24 million, so this is definitely a (pleasant) surprise all around and gave the industry a healthy boost from last weekend. What's interesting is that even if TLAM opened on the low end of expectations, it still would have covered its negative costs in a single weekend (instead of a single day like it did on Friday).

The overall success of the movie is not that shocking to me, however, since Screen Gems had nothing but positives going into the weekend: 1) Popular source material; 2) Built-in African American audience, particularly women; 3) Built-in female audience (I know Caucasian women who have read Steve Harvey's book, too, and so it probably has a universal appeal to females in general [and maybe males as well - I can't say for sure since I haven't read it]); 4) Catchy title; 5) Attractive and relatively well-known cast. All these factors make up the recipe for a hit movie and TLAM is now just that, so not a huge surprise. I bet studio execs are already looking into similar books that can be adapted/filmed rather inexpensively for another chance to cash in.

Edwin Davies: I think that David is bang on when he talks about the ascendancy of Kevin Hart playing a big part in the film's success. Had this film been released before Laugh At My Pain, it probably would have done okay, but the extent to which that film broke Hart to a wider audience probably paid dividends for this film, and the prevalence of Hart in the marketing suggests that the studio knew it.

Also, to bring up the wildly successful elephant in the room, the seeming decline in Tyler Perry's popularity may have, in a roundabout way, helped to make Think Like A Man a success. Perry has had huge success by playing to a predominantly African-American audience that has been under-served by Hollywood, but after years of only really getting Perry products, maybe the chance to see something a bit different helped propel Think Like A Man to these heights.

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