“…I don’t know. Some meaningful combination of numbers…”
–Tom Berenger (Inception)

April 23rd, 2012

A month later and we’ve finally got a different story for the top spot, though I’d be shocked if any of the new releases this week were top priorities for most chewers. I myself took this open weekend as a chance to catch up with Bully (which proved to be notable only by virtue of its subject matter and some compelling footage). And while I ate appropriate meals three times, I didn’t make it to Jiro Dreams of Sushi like I’d hoped. I’ll definitely be on that one this week though.

In any event, here’s what went down at the cineplexes this week…

1. Think Like A Man ($33 million)

[Total: $33 million | Worldwide: N/A | Budget: $12m]

I’ve said something along these lines before, but I find it strangely pleasing to my more progressive senses that a major studio has pumped cash into a glossy, upwardly mobile-focused dramedy geared for African-Americans. Equality in pablum I suppose, which strikes some sense that something has ultimately improved if a major conglomerate feels the black dollar is as worthy of pandering to. Any greenlit rom-com that doesn’t trot out Natalie Portman or another shiny, aspirational white person is a pulled-tooth in Hollywood, so don’t take it for granted.

In this case the market paid off like gangbusters, as this Steve Harvey-driven comedy managed to top not-only virtually every Tyler Perry movie, but nearly every movie period that Screen Gems has ever released. It couldn’t quite beat the snowy-white glow of The Vow, but this could be a nine-figure hit without stretching too much, and that’s huge for a $12m movie that managed that number in only two-thousand theaters.

***

2. The Lucky One ($23 million)

[Total: $23 million | Worldwide: $26.51m | Budget: N/A]

Well the snowy white romance tear-jerker — about a Marine that stalks a woman until she catches on that he’s certainly less creepy than his creepy-as-shit rival — could only manage second place, but still managed a healthy piece of the pie worth over $20m. This is good news for Efron, who was the primary star they set to orbit in the gravity of the Nicholas Sparks brand… He needed a new panty-wetting hit. The guy doesn’t bring ‘em in by the bushel if he’s pining for his dead little brother, but have him be romantically persistent and do shirtless chores and you’ve got gold.

***

3. The Hunger Games ($14.5 million)

[Total: $356 million | Worldwide: $572m | Budget: $78m]

Despite dropping two spots, The Hunger Games has lost none of its luster. The lady market was carved up and the younger market lured by non-violent natural cuteness, and yet the games lost only a 1/3rd of their steam. That suggests this thing really will play a while and that its new goalpost is breaking $380 (Potter 7.2‘s total). There’s almost no chance it won’t manage that, especially when it’s got an additional, well-timed IMAX run to look forward to next week, which will probably soften the next drop as well. Katniss isn’t going to quite manage that $400m bullseye, though Lionsgate could possibly push, squeeze, and shove it past that marker if it means enough to them. It would be a tough one though.

***

4. Chimpanzee ($10 million)

[Total: $10 million | Worldwide: N/A | Budget: N/A]

Disney knows how to sell some cute, and by treating this like a full out release they’ve got the third best documentary opening ever (behind Bieber and Michael Moore). It’s not likely to swing through the trees all that long, but this is still a huge win for something engineered to be valuable as a disc, VOD, and TV channel commodity long-term.

***

5. The Three Stooges ($9 million)

[Total: $29 million | Worldwide: N/A | Budget: $30m]

The budget’s made back, so if this thing has any international value or does well on home video, then it will make all the dollars it could have ever reasonably made in this form. Next week brings two comedies (5-year Engagement, Pirates!) that should effectively gut this flick from both ends, but nobody walks away embarrassed. Hell, there’s even the quiet subtext that a properly marketed event film that actually had the three huge stars originally involved would have been a decent money-maker.

***

The Rest…

Geek favorite Cabin In The Woods managed another $8m, merely halving its opening business. As was the case with the first weekend, the film isn’t shattering any molds but it’s sure doing damn well for a meta-horror flick that sat on the shelves for two years. Just imagine the universe where WB coughed up with a Trick R Treat release and it cleared something close to $35m all said and done. From that perspective this business is something close to a miracle.

Continuing down the charts we have Titanic 3D making it to within a stone’s throw of three hundred million goddamn dollars worldwide. Wrath of the Titans 3D finally dropped out of the top 10 here in the states (where it’s cleared a mere $77m) and yet it’s quietly started knocking on the door of a $300m worldwide total. Battleship is over $130m with many weeks between now and its US release. How many distribution executives will name their dicks “The International Gross” after this year? Not enough, that’s how many.

Oh, and the pretty fantastic documentary Marley (about Bob), managed a quarter-of-a-million in 40ish theatres, so the film is out there for most anywhere near a decently-sized market. It’s a very slick, complete biography of the man that you should check out whether you dig his music or not, FYI.

Thanks for reading!

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Numbers (rounded off to nearest .5m) via BoxOfficeMojo