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Screen Gems' ensemble comedy Think Like a Man Too is easily winning the Friday box office race, where it could hit $14 million for the day and cross $30 million for the weekend in another win for star Kevin Hart and director Tim Story.
And Friday is bringing better-than-expected news for director Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys. Pre-release tracking had the film adaptation of the hit stage musical opening in the $12 million to $13 million range, but Friday traffic suggests the Warner Bros. film could earn as much as $7 million for a debut north of $16 million (some even think it could approach $20 million).
Think Like a Man Too has a strong shot at topping the weekend chart and besting holdovers 22 Jump Street and How to Dragon Your Dragon 2, which should gross between $25 million and $30 million in their second weekends.
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Reteaming Story and Hart with producer Will Packer, the comedy sequel cost roughly $24 million to produce and stars Hart opposite Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall and Gabrielle Union. The first Think Like a Man debuted to $33.6 million in April 2012 (April boasts far less competition).
Inspired by Steve Harvey's best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, the sequel sees the various couples travel to Las Vegas for a wedding. But plans for a romantic weekend quickly go awry.
Jersey Boys charts the meteoric rise and fall of 1950s rock 'n' roll band The Four Seasons, and cost in the $40 million range to make. Eastwood film's don't open in summer, when expectations are much higher (Blood Work, released in 2002, was his last summer title).
Eastwood's Jersey Boys doesn't sport any A-list actors and is receiving mixed reviews. Still, both the director and the material are well-known brands. Jersey Boys, opening on Broadway in 2005, won four 2006 Tony Awards, including best musical. It has been restaged all over the world, including in London, and has had two North American national tours, the most recent in 2011.
At the same time, musical adaptations have a decidedly mixed track record at the box office. Hits include Mamma Mia!, which debuted to $27.8 million in summer 2008, and Hairspray, which launched to $27.5 million in summer 2007. On the other end of the spectrum, Rock of Ages only pulled in $14.4 million in summer 2012.
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Jersey Boys does have the advantage of appealing to older adults who aren't interested in summer action tentpoles, meaning the movie could have exceptionally strong legs. The film's cast is led by John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza and Christopher Walken.
Expanding nationwide this weekend is David Michod's Australian drama The Rover, starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. A24 Films launched the indie film last weekend in Los Angeles and New York.