Needless to say, this is one box office opening weekend we've had marked on our calendars since I made the seemingly bold argument 2 months ago that Malcolm D. Lee's sequel to The Best Man, titled Best Man Holiday, had the potential to reach a $100 million cumulative box office gross.
And as I noted in that post, it would need to match opening weekend numbers for Think Like A Man, which shocked the world last year with a $33.6 million opening weekend take, on its way to a $91 million domestic cumulative gross.Based on early box office reports, it looks like Best Man Holiday will do just that.
Friday numbers for the Universal Pictures release are coming in at $12.5 million to $13.5 million, for a projected total weekend gross of somewhere in the mid-$30 million range
While it may not be enough to claim the #1 spot at the box office this weekend (Thor, in its second week, is projected to earn about $37,5 million this weekend), a mid-$30 million opening is a strong start for Best Man Holiday, considering that some earlier reports projected a $17-$20 million cume for the weekend.
The road to $100 million is still a rather long one for the film; word of mouth and repeat viewings are key to its long-term success. For Universal, Malcolm D. Lee and the film's cast, the promotion doesn't suddenly end. Mission is far from accomplished. In fact, these next few weeks become even more crucial to the film's long-term success - that is if a triple-digit (or near triple-digit total box office gross is in their sights.
I'll add that the film will also face some competition over the coming weeks. Not just other "black films" on the horizon, like Black Nativity and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, but it is awards season after all - the time of the year when studios showcase their best films, which may or may not have an effect on Best Man Holiday's audience reach.
Still, a nice strong start was needed to help catapult the film, giving it less ground to have to make up over time. And even if it doesn't reach the coveted $100 million mark, it should do very well by the time it leaves theaters, given this weekend's upside surprise opening figures.