Think Too Tops Box Office; Jersey Boys Soft
By John Hamann
June 22, 2014
Something is missing at the box office this weekend, something you might not be able to put your finger on. We’ve got a sequel this weekend, not to mention Kevin Hart and Clint Eastwood, but that’s not what I’m getting at. What we are missing is about $70 million out of the top 12 films.
The big thing that’s really missing this weekend is Pixar, as the blockbuster animation company doesn’t have its usual June release for the first time in five years (Up was released May 29, 2009). Instead, we’re left with the less-than-blockbuster-y Think Like A Man Too and Jersey Boys opening this weekend, and a $710 million drought at the overall box office. Last year it was Pixar’s Monsters University ($82.4 million) opening on June 21st. In 2012, it was Brave, finding $66.3 million on the same weekend. On June 24, 2011, it was Cars earning $66 million; and in 2010, it was Toy Story 3 opening to a wild $110 million – and I could go on.
That means this weekend the proverbial elephant is not in the room, and the two counter-programming choices that went with it, Think Like A Man Too and Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys have a chance to shine on their own. Alternately, audiences could use this weekend to catch up, allowing them to finally get out to see X-Men: Days of Future Past, Godzilla or Edge of Tomorrow, or last weekend’s big hitters, 22 Jump Street and How To Train Your Dragon 2. What did audiences choose? None of the above.
Our number one film of the weekend is Think Like A Man Too, the sequel to the big opener from April 2012, which proved profitable after a single weekend of release, given its $12 million budget and $33.6 million opening frame. The producers hustled to get a sequel in the can, and hit the “here’s Kevin Hart in anything” button as fast as they possibly could. Despite the doubling of the budget to $24 million, the push behind the film made me feel they would be happy with the same result, so they didn’t blow their brains out trying to get this one to cross over. Given that the original Think grossed $91.5 million domestically without very little effort, I don’t blame them for their strategy.
The sequel did what it needed to, but didn’t break out. The sequel earned $30 million from 2,225 venues for Screen Gems, which is almost the same size of release the original got a few years ago (2,015 venues). Given the budget, this has to be considered a success; however, with the release date move from April to June, the fact that it’s a sequel, and the fact that Kevin Hart got Ride Along to open higher in January ($41.5 million), Screen Gems might be wondering why the numbers aren’t higher this morning.
Truth be told, the first Think Like A Man wasn’t all that, scoring a 54% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. The sequel received even worse reviews, coming in at only 23% fresh. Cinemascores were better, at A-, but the original came in with an A, so even general audiences weren’t as enamored with the sequel as they were the original. The film may have been phoned in, but for Kevin Hart and director Tim Story, their rolls continue. Since the original Think Like a Man opened to $33.6 million, Hart has had a successful comedy film in Let Me Explain ($32.2 million total, $2.5 million budget), a supporting role in Grudge Match, Ride Along ($153 million worldwide, $25 million budget), About Last Night ($25 million opening, $12.5 million budget), and now Think Like a Man Too. Tim Story was behind the camera for both Think Like a Man films as well as Ride Along, and has ridden Kevin Hart back to directing glory after serving up two awful Fantastic Four movies. Had a Pixar film been released this weekend, I think Think Like a Man Too would have done similar business.