In the end, it wasn't any sort of dastardly villain who conquered the heroes of "The Hunger Games." No, the four-week box-office reign of the adaptation of the popular YA novel was ended by none other than Steve Harvey and Zac Efron, whose respective new movies performed quite impressively over the weekend.
"Think Like a Man" was #1 with a $33 million opening, boasting a higher per-screen average than any other movie with a nationwide release this year, save for "Games" and "Dr. Seuss the Lorax." With a story based on the lessons given in comedian Steve Harvey's self-help tome "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," the film gave Screen Gems their second-best opening (behind "The Vow") and third #1 in 2012 so far.
Screen Gems only spent a reported $13 million making "Think Like a Man." Many industry watchers predicted an opening at least $10 million lower, more in line with the intake of the #2 movie at the box office this week, "The Lucky One." The Zac Efron-led tearjerker opened with $22.8 million. That's much higher than Efron's "Charlie St. Cloud" ($12.4 million) though somewhat less than "17 Again" ($23.7 million). It's the second-biggest opening for a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book, behind "Dear John" ($30.5 million). Box Office Mojo noted that "The Lucky One" actually sold more tickets than "The Notebook" too, though it earned less actual cash.
"The Lucky One" was pretty unlucky with critics, however. Richard Roeper called it "well-acted schmaltz with some gaping plot holes." Eric D. Snider described "The Lucky One" as "exactly the kind of sappy hogwash that Efron's detractors think is the only thing he's capable of doing." The movie did receive a B+ CinemaScore from moviegoers who saw it, although 56 percent of them admitted that Efron was the main reason they went to see the film, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"The Hunger Games" was #3 with $14.5 million for a five-week total of $356.9 million. The first in a planned trilogy, "Games" now sits at #19 on the list of all-time box-office grosses, right between "Jurassic Park" ($357 million) and the third "Transformers" movie, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" ($352.3 million). "The Hunger Games" has made more than any "Twilight" movie and is ahead of every "Harry Potter" flick except "Deathly Hallows, Part 2," which made $381 million.
"Games" did manage to hold off one of the weekend's new films, "Chimpanzee," though the Disneynature film still managed the third-highest opening for a documentary ever. "Chimpanzee" was #4 with $10.2 million, placing it behind docs "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" ($29.5 million) and "Fahrenheit 9/11" ($23.9 million). "Chimpanzee" had a 77 percent "fresh" score on film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. "Walt Disney himself couldn't have scripted 'Chimpanzee' any better," wrote Newsday's Rafer Guzman. The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan wrote, "one wonders whether more than a few viewers won't want to take home a baby chimp."
The Farrelly brothers' take on "The Three Stooges" rounded out the top five with $9.2 million during its second weekend, bringing the comedy's total to $29.4 million.
"Titanic 3-D" continued to top the international box office, bringing its overseas total to $225.7 million. "Battleship" has made $129.6 million abroad.
Next weekend's new films include "The Raven," starring John Cusack as a fictionalized version of Edgar Allan Poe; Jason Statham action flick "Safe"; R-rated comedy "The Five-Year Engagement," from the team behind "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"; and animated kids' movie "Pirates! Band of Misfits."
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