For the first time in four weeks, Hunger Games was not number one at the box office this weekend. That honor went to ridiculous rom-com Think Like a Man, the movie based on a self-help book by Steve Harvey. With an impressive $33 million debut, this movie features some fine actors, black people and white people being friends, an interracial relationship presented without comment about race, and lots of laughs. Unfortunately, it's filled with clichés and stereotypes and suggests that dating is a "war" with rules that must be obeyed… while simultaneously proving that said rules are completely silly and pointless.
Of course, Hunger Games has already made $356.9 million, so the odds are still in its favor. But this weekend, it was number three; at the number two spot was Zac Efron bicep vehicle The Lucky One, which earned $22 million.
What's interesting is that while traditional rom coms — so-called "chick flicks" with stars like Kate Hudson and Katherine Heigl — have fallen out of favor, Americans still enjoy a romantic comedy. (As an aside, be sure and check out Melissa Silverstein's piece in which she proposes we ban the phrase "chick flick.") TLAM made more than recent Tyler Perry movies, and almost as much as last year's hit with a predominantly black cast, Jumping the Broom.
So what drove folks to the theaters? Was it Steve Harvey? Was it the ensemble cast? The fact that the female characters were not the pratfall-prone blondes usually seen in romcoms? Were audiences excited to see successful, intelligent, literate black characters having fun and finding love?
According to the LA Times:
Moviegoers who saw "Think Like a Man" - a largely female crowd, 62% of whom were 30 or older - loved the film, assigning it an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore. The film, which targeted an African American audience, performed well in cities such as Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia. However, it is unclear precisely how well the movie played with different races this weekend, because although Sony gathers that demographic information on audiences, it historically has not provided an ethnic breakdown to news media.
Rory Bruer, Sony's distribution president, would say only "There wasn't a group that this didn't play well to."
Box office report: 'Think Like a Man' halts the 'Hunger Games' train with $33 mil [EW]
'Think Like a Man' replaces 'Hunger Games' atop box office [LAT]
Related: Roll the credits on chick flicks [WaPo]