African-American comedy should displace 'Hunger Games'
After four weekends atop the domestic box office, “The Hunger Games” will likely succumb this weekend to Sony’s African-American-targeted comedy “Think Like a Man,” which could hit upwards of $20 million through Sunday.Joining “Man” in wide release are Warner Bros.’ Nicholas Sparks adaptation “The Lucky One” and Disneynature’s docu “Chimpanzee.” The WB pic is tracking in the mid-to-high teens, while bizzers expect “Chimpanzee” to land between $6 million and $7 million. Last weekend, domestic B.O. lagged but overseas auds flocked to key titles “Titanic” 3D and “Battleship.” For “Titanic,” China contributed an eye-popping $67 million six-day opening take, boosting the pic’s overall weekend gross to $98.9 million; international cume is $157.1 million. “Battleship,” which scored $55 million from 26 debut territories, expands to 24 additional markets this weekend; pic bowed Wednesday in China, earning $3 million on opening day and putting it on track to earn around $23 million locally in five days. “Hunger Games” has seen solid returns overseas, with $194 million, but has been more resilient Stateside with a domestic cume of $341 million. Entering its fifth domestic frame, “Hunger Games” could surge thanks to potential latecomer auds. It’s unlikely the film will drop more than 40% vs. last weekend, when it fell a scant 36%. Holdover should see a weekend gross in the low-to-mid teens. According to online ticketing site Fandango, “Think Like a Man” dominated early ticket sales, with 42% on Thursday vs. 14% and 9%, respectively, for “The Lucky One” and “Chimpanzee.” Disney-Marvel’s “The Avengers,” which doesn’t bow for another two weeks, accounted for 15% of Thursday’s sales. “The Avengers” landed on tracking services earlier this week, skewing predictions slightly for this weekend’s crop. What’s more, “Man” and “Lucky One” are already somewhat difficult to peg since heat among their respective target auds can often go undetected. “Think Like a Man,” which cost $12 million-$13 million to produce, will attract a mostly urban crowd, while the $20 million-plus “Lucky One” is expected to play best with under-25 femmes. The perf of Sparks adaptations ranges widely: 2010’s “The Last Song” opened midweek and earned $16 million in three days, while “Dear John” bowed earlier that year to the tune of $30 million. “Lucky One” could draw in more tween girls than “Song,” based on the popularity of star Zac Efron. “Man” could see similar returns as May 2011 entry “Jumping the Broom” ($15 million), though bizzers hint at a higher upside, comparable to some Tyler Perry pics. Disney, meanwhile, unspools “Chimpanzee” — the fourth entry from its nature-doc label — at 1,563 locations. (Warner’s nature doc “To the Arctic 3D” also bows Friday, but at just 50 Imax playdates.) Disneynature’s inaugural film “Earth” saw the label’s best opening so far with $8.8 million, though it benefited from an Earth Day 2009 tie-in. “Chimpanzee” bow should land closer to that of “African Cats,” which opened this time last year with $6 million. At the specialty B.O., Magnolia’s Bob Marley docu “Marley” opens Stateside at 45 locations, while Sony Pictures Classics’ Lawrence Kasdan pic “Darling Companion” opens at four. The Weinstein Co. is expanding “Bully” to 93 markets in the U.S., totaling 263 engagements. Pic should reach $1 million domestically today.