News Column

Another Kevin Hart Box-Office Bet Pays Off

June 23, 2014

By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

Kevin Hart's 'Think Like a Man Too' racked in $30 million at the weekend box office. (AP)
Kevin Hart's 'Think Like a Man Too' racked in $30 million at the weekend box office. (AP)

What do you get when you cross three A-listers with two sequels and millions at the box office? One happy studio.

Sony Pictures took the top two spots at theaters over the weekend as Think Like a Man Too supplanted 22 Jump Street, reversing the fortunes of a studio that had seen only one film this year crack $100 million.

Man took the top spot with $30 million, according to studio estimates from box-office trackers Rentrak.

Despite tough reviews, the debut met most box office analysts' expectations and cements star Kevin Hart's position as summer's most bankable comedian.

Man earned just a 22% approval rating from critics, survey site Rotten Tomatoes says. But Hart always has appealed more to moviegoers than to movie reviewers, and the comedy earned an A-minus from fans, according to pollsters CinemaScore.

"Kevin Hart's ascension as a legit box-office draw and 'Pointless Sequel Syndrome' appear to have canceled each other out," says Tim Briody, columnist for Box Office Prophets.

Last week's No. 1, 22 Jump Street, dropped to second place with $29 million. Sophomore-week earnings pushed the Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill comedy to $111.5 million overall. It joins The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as the only Sony films to collect nine figures in ticket sales this year.

Nine figures will be a pipe dream for Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood's latest. The musical collected $13.5 million for a fourth-place finish.

About 55% of critics gave the movie a thumbs-up, and moviegoers gave it an A-minus, but the story never caught fire.

"Eastwood films typically have a major star as the anchor," says Gitesh Pandya of Box Office Guru. "But this one has newcomers" -- Christopher Walken, as a gangster, is the cast's only movie star -- "which (took) away from its opening weekend strength."

The animated sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 took third place with $25.3 million, while Angelina Jolie's Maleficent captured fifth with $13 million.

Final figures are out today.

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Source: Copyright 2014 USA TODAY

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