Think Like a Man Too, a comedy starring Kevin Hart, collected $29 million in its opening weekend to give Columbia Pictures a second No. 1 debut in U.S. and Canadian theaters in as many weeks.
The sequel to the 2012 film outdrew Jersey Boys, the Clint Eastwood film about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that also opened in wide release, Rentrak Corp. said. Jersey Boys generated $13.3 million to place fourth for Warner Bros.
Think Like a Man Too was buoyed by the box-office power of Hart, who turned a successful comedy routine into starring roles on the big screen. Universal's Ride Along, in which Hart starred opposite Ice Cube, stayed atop box office charts for three weekends earlier this year. Smart scheduling has given Columbia two winners from low-budget productions and given a lift to the studio, which has struggled to match the profitability of competitors.
"Given star Kevin Hart's ever-increasing box office stature, Columbia obviously felt confident enough to make it a summer release," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. "Kevin Hart is the personification of a box office insurance policy."
Think Like a Man Too, produced for $24 million, according to Box Office Mojo, was projected to generate $34 million in its opening, the forecast of BoxOffice.com. The original movie, also starring Hart, collected $33.6 million in its April 2012 opening and went on to gross $91.5 million domestically.
The new PG-13 comedy again features Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good and Regina Hall, and picks up with the same couples and their friends. This time, they visit Las Vegas for a wedding, where their misadventures and misdemeanors put the big day at risk.
"The ensemble cast, along with Hart, proved to be a considerable draw and, as a comedy, offered an antidote to the typical summer blockbuster fare," Dergarabedian said.
While the film didn't get any accolades from critics, with only a 23 percent positive rating on Rottentomatoes.com, 79 percent of audiences liked it, according to the review aggregator.
"Hart hits such adrenaline-fueled extremes, it's exhausting," Betsy Sharkey wrote in the Los Angeles Times. "If you can look past the cliches and the comic's high wattage and high-pitched screeching, there are some interesting things going on."
Think Like a Man Too follows Columbia's 22 Jump Street, a cop comedy with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum that opened at No. 1 the previous weekend. 22 Jump Street collected $27.4 million to place second in its return last weekend. The movie has generated $109.9 million, according to Rentrak.
"We certainly had pictures that had a lot of love attached to them the first time around," said Rory Bruer, Sony's president of worldwide distribution for Columbia. "What was important in the sequels to these films was to get the story right."
Sony Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai recently reiterated he has no plans to spin off Columbia, the company's entertainment business, as part of a restructuring.
"Despite calls for Sony to spin off its entertainment business, the studio is having a nice run this summer with some modestly budgeted movies," said Paul Sweeney, senior media analyst at Bloomberg Industries.
Eastwood's Jersey Boys, based on the hit Broadway musical, was projected to generate $13 million in its opening.
Charting the rise of the doo-wop-influenced Four Seasons, the movie tells the story of the New Jersey band that produced such hits as "Sherry" and "Walk Like a Man," through the narrative voice of each member of the group.
The picture, which also features Christopher Walken, received mixed reviews, garnering a 54 percent positive rating on Rottentomatoes.com.
"The whole thing looks and sounds so canned -- from the conspicuousness of a set that's been vacuumed of the dirt of real life to the goofily contrived setup," wrote Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. "It's disappointing that Mr. Eastwood, a director who can convey extraordinary depths of feeling in his work, didn't do more with this material."
Among returning movies, How to Train Your Dragon 2, from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and 2oth Century Fox Inc., collected $24.7 million to place third in its second weekend.
Walt Disney Co.'s Maleficent, the live-action retelling of its animated classic Sleeping Beauty starring Angelina Jolie, took $12.9 million to place fifth. The movie has grossed $185 million domestically since its release.
"This was a very tough weekend with regard to comparisons to last year's same weekend, when Monsters University and World War Z opened," said Rentrak's Dergarabedian, referring to the 2013 films released by Walt Disney and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Rentrak, are:
Think Like a Man Too, Columbia, $29,241,911, 2,225 locations, $13,142 average, $29,241,911, one week.
22 Jump Street, Columbia, $27,460,995, 3,306 locations, $8,306 average, $109,911,125, two weeks.
How to Train Your Dragon 2, 20th Century Fox, $24,719,312, 4,268 locations, $5,792 average, $94,596,047, two weeks.
Jersey Boys, Warner Bros., $13,319,371, 2,905 locations, $4,585 average, $13,319,371, one week.
Maleficent, Disney, $12,910,766, 3,450 locations, $3,742 average, $185,879,334, four weeks.
Edge of Tomorrow, Warner Bros., $9,820,080, 3,212 locations, $3,057 average, $73,991,573, three weeks.
The Fault in Our Stars, 20th Century Fox, $8,565,710, 3,340 locations, $2,565 average, $98,694,043, three weeks.
X-Men: Days of Future Past, 20th Century Fox, $6,150,460, 2,681 locations, $2,294 average, $216,744,710, five weeks.
Godzilla, Warner Bros., $1,888,304, 1,365 locations, $1,383 average, $194,983,388, six weeks.
Chef, Open Road, $1,708,590, 961 locations, $1,778 average, $16,805,781, seven weeks.
A Million Ways to Die in the West, Universal, $1,600,550, 1,417 locations, $1,130 average, $40,302,450, four weeks.
Neighbors, Universal, $1,368,375, 1,033 locations, $1,325 average, $145,716,950, seven weeks.
Blended, Warner Bros., $1,007,492, 842 locations, $1,197 average, $42,358,883, five weeks.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Columbia, $633,630, 434 locations, $1,460 average, $199,510,835, eight weeks.
Million Dollar Arm, Disney, $535,050, 444 locations, $1,205 average, $34,399,198, six weeks.
The Rover, A24 Films, $481,214, 608 locations, $791 average, $562,440, two weeks.
Rio 2, 20th Century Fox, $413,379, 310 locations, $1,333 average, $127,375,992, 11 week.
Belle, Fox Searchlight, $318,771, 244 locations, $1,306 average, $9,198,251, eight weeks.
Divergent, Lionsgate, $270,363, 289 locations, $936 average, $150,160,035, 14 weeks.
Ida, Music Box Films, $268,817, 133 locations, $2,021 average, $2,065,330, eight weeks.
MovieStyle on 06/27/2014
Print Headline: Hart takes Think sequel to No. 1