SATURDAY 10:30 PM, 2ND UPDATE: Audiences gave both newcomer pics ‘A-’ Cinemascores but also very different grosses. As expected, Clint Eastwood’s musical is tanking, while Kevin Hart’s comedy is topping even though it’s playing in almost 700 fewer theaters. In fact comedy rules the top two film slots this weekend. Easy lesson to learn, studios: make more laughers.
1. The PG-13 comedy Think Like A Man Too (Screen Gems/Sony – 2,225 theaters) at $24M cost double what the original budget was. But it’s playing like a carbon copy of the first so far. It opened with $12.2M Friday after strong West Coast late shows, then -12% for Saturday for $10.7M. The first weekend is still $30+M for what could be the same $33M first weekend. "Maybe deduct a little for a summer Friday but add a lot for summer weekdays next week," a Sony exec tells me. Even with its tired wedding-in-Las Vegas plot. According to Fandango, Think Like a Man Too was outselling previous Kevin Hart movies including Ride Along (which opened to $41.5M and went on to make $134.2M domestic), Think Like a Man ($33.6M/$91.5M) and Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain ($10M/$32.2M), at the same point in the pre-sales cycle. The first Think Like A Man directed by Tim Story was a sleeper hit with audiences and performed remarkably well at the box office, propelling Kevin Hart to become one of the hottest comedic actors in Hollywood. The follow-up includes Story once again and ensemble cast Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Reginal Hall, Gabrielle Union. All of the couples inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man are back. Screenplay is by Keith Merryman & David A. Newman and produced by Will Packer.
2. Sony has the top two films this weekend with holdover 22 Jump Street (Sony – doing $9.4M Friday (-64% from last Friday) and $11M (-41%) Saturday for $28M this weekend or (-50%). Cume should be $110.6M through Sunday after passing $100M on Saturday.
3. Another holdover is How to Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation/Fox – 4,268 theaters) which made $7.6M (-59%) Friday and held pretty steady at $10.2M (-41%) Saturday for a $26M weekend (-48%) and a $96M cume through Sunday. Unclear yet if it can make it to the original’s $217.5M domestic all-in.
4. Without any significant uptick in what had been lousy tracking, Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys (Warner Bros – 2,905 theaters) opened to only $4.6M Friday. Pic went up +17% Saturday for $5.4M. But now it’s tanking for only $13.5M this weekend at a cost around $40M. I hear the studio wanted the summer release, not Clint, who made more of a drama than a musical about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons based on the Broadway production nearing a decade-long run based on the original book written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice who also wrote this screenplay. (Might have had more traction in the Fall?) What’s interesting is that it’s the first Clint Eastwood film to get a test screening in a long time. Maybe because Clint wasn’t exactly the natural choice to present Valli’s story which he directed as R-rated for some reason known only to him. Unfortunately the knocks against the pic are that it’s slow, lacked a musical background (seriously), and didn’t come alive until the last 15 minutes including credits. Biggest mistake might have been not using more artists’ music to set the feel for the time period. (Don’t feel badly for Clint, however: word is American Sniper was a tough and demanding shoot for him but looks good. He plans to take a year off from filmmaking afterwards.) John Lloyd who starred on stage in the role in 2005 plays Frankie both young and old while also cast are Joe Pesci (who’s been in the Witness Protection Program apparently) and Christopher Walken. Eastwood produced along with Graham King and Rob Lorenz.
5. Maleficent (Disney – 3,450 theaters) holds on for a 4th week, taking in $4.0M (-33%) Friday for a $13M weekend and $186.0M cume through Sunday.