By Gabe Toro | The Playlist April 29, 2012 at 11:47AM
Let this be a wake up call. For the second straight weekend, “Think Like a Man,” cast with actors and actresses usually stuck playing “ethnic sidekicks” to more marketable white stars, didn’t just lead the box office, it dominated. With the film in slightly over 2,000 theaters, less than any other movie finishing in the top eight, 'Man' played to solid box office, with a second-weekend per-screen average of nearly $9k, almost tripling similar statistics from the week’s other releases. There were four major studio releases this weekend and none came close to this.
You can douse this flame with a bit of water if you must. Unlike Screen Gems’ other genre-centric offerings, “Think Like a Man” isn’t likely to translate to foreign audiences, for the same reasons that limit even the biggest films with black casts to 2,000 theaters instead of 3,000 stateside. But the profit margin is undeniable, and 'Man' reportedly only cost $12-$14 million to produce, a budget likely lower than the four new releases that fell by the wayside this weekend.
Meanwhile, families with nothing else to choose from rewarded Aardman's "The Pirates! Band of Misfits." The film didn't boast many A-list celebrity voices aside from Hugh Grant and didn't carry any of the big studio brand names like Pixar, Disney or DreamWorks, but as the lone offering out there for parents, it rode all the way to the number two spot. Though it was a close battle with “The Lucky One,” which lost half its audience in its second week. However, that film already had its big opening weekend, and getting the film over $60 million domestic will be a matter of inevitability.
Blockbuster is and blockbuster does. "The Hunger Games" clung to the top five, at least until next week when "The Avengers" comes around. Crossing $400 million domestically at this point is a no brainer. The question is how much it will taper off as the multiplex season kicks into full gear next weekend.
Meanwhile, Universal has got be worried about the Judd Apatow brand. Marking his second straight bomb following “Wanderlust," “The Five-Year Engagement” limped into the number five slot. The Jason Segel-Nicolas Stoller reteaming has been in the works since their last collaboration, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” though perhaps execs overestimated the appeal of 'Marshall' (which grossed a not-amazing $63 million) and the fact that a movie about a couple being engaged for five years genuinely sounds like murder to some people. “Bridesmaids” was tossed around during the ad campaign, but the imagery taken from the film for marketing purposes was simply the smushed-together faces of Segel (ubiquitous but not famous) and Emily Blunt (same). That wasn’t going to bring in either men or women, and Apatow’s brand has been stretched too thin, which will surely have Universal execs worried about “This Is Forty” (which put its first teaser trailer in front of 'Engagement').
Lionsgate. Statham. Punching. It’s like clockwork at this point, with yet another Jason Statham film aimed squarely to the action film pleasure center. “Safe” was sold as Just Another Jason Statham Movie, and as a result, audiences responded as if to say, “Yes, we know, there’s a new one every year.” These are significantly diminished returns for Statham -- while his films usually manage a lower budget, keeping them profitable, this opening is considerably lower than his last few efforts, all of which tapped out in the vicinity of $30 million. Gonna go back to that old adage of most moviegoers making their decision based on a title. And nobody wants to see an action movie with a generic, counter-intuitive name like “Safe.”
Once upon a time, “The Raven” looked like a potential blockbuster, or even franchise-starter. Made independently, the film re-envisioned Edgar Allan Poe as a swashbuckling hero of sorts, with John Cusack having his Jack Sparrow moment for the director of “V For Vendetta.” Months later, the film’s domestic rights are sold to upstart Relativity for a mere $4 million, and the studio proceeds to barely release the film, eliminating Cusack’s shot at a late-career studio-lead renaissance, and putting the kibosh on the career of director James McTeigue, who was once on every studio’s want list.
“The Three Stooges” and “Chimpazee” appropriately stayed neck and neck, both doing better-than-expected business. For a Disney doc, “Chimpazee” finishing at somewhere between $25-$30 million is a big win. For 'Stooges,' it’s not so much a hit as a successful off-season programmer, finishing just shy of $50 million if it continues to perform in a similar manner the next couple of weeks. Similarly tapped out was “Cabin In the Woods,” which was much less expensive than 'Stooges' and should finish north of $40 million on its way to cult movie heaven.
1. Shrink Like A Man (Sony/Screen Gems) - $18 million ($60.9 mil.)
2. The Pirates Exclamation Point (Sony) - $11.4 million
3. Not Another Nicholas Sparks Movie (WB) - $11.3 million ($39.9 mil.)
4. Child Murder Funtime Variety Hour (Lionsgate) - $11.25 ($372.2 million)
5. The Five Year Make Up/Break Up (Universal) - $11.2 million
6. Jason Statham Punches People: The Sequel! (Lionsgate) - $7.3 million
7. Poe No! (Relativity) - $7 million
8. Apes-A-Poppin! (Disney) - $5.3 million ($37 mil.)
9. 3 Guys Hitting Each Other In The Head - $5.2 million ($19 mil.)
10. Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Cabin Horror Genre But Were Afraid To Ask (Lionsgate) - $4.6 million ($35 mil.)