'Think Like a Man' box office proves 'black films' can sell

theGRIO REPORT - The box office success of 'Think Like A Man' surpassed the expectations of film critics and proves that films with a primarily African-American cast can sell....

Think Like a Man topped the box office this weekend, raking in a whopping $33 million in ticket sales and knocking 4-week champ The Hunger Games from the number one spot. Starring a primarily African-American cast, including Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Gabrielle Union, and Meagan Good, Think Like a Man proves that all-black cast films can sell.

The film, based on Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, follows four couples as the women join together and read Harvey’ book. When the men realize that the ladies are reading the advice book, they try to turn the tables on their mates.

Well before the film was released critics predicted that it would do well at the box office. According to Michael Rechtshaffen of the Hollywood Reporter the “attractive cast and the silky production values, combined with Harvey’s loyal radio, stand-up and Family Feud following, should ensure that the Screen Gems release opens strongly, drawing an urban audience in the market for a more urbane Tyler Perry.”

But the opening weekend success of the film surpassed the expectations of film critics and has created a swell of positive press for primarily African-American cast movies. Think Like A Man opened to roughly 2,000 screens, 1,000 fewer screens than the Zac Efron romance The Lucky One which debuted at number two. And the film made back it’s entire production budget of $12 million in its first day in theaters.

According to Box Office Mojo the film’s opening was also better than nearly all other past films with a predominately black cast including all of Tyler Perry’s movies, except Madea Goes to Jail, which grossed $41 million its opening weekend. And for the production company Screen Gems, Think Like a Man topped 2009’s Obsessed, making it their highest open ever targeting African-American filmgoers, and their second best opening overall behind this year’s The Vow.

In an interview with Shadow & Act, the film’s executive producer, Will Packer, said that Think Like A Man’s box office success “shows the power of a smart strategic marketing plan that takes advantage of social media, networking, grassroots and a great campaign.”

“I think that when audiences start to realize their power in Hollywood decision making, you will see more films like this made and become more successful,” Packer said.

Although the reviews for Think Like a Man were mixed, audiences responded to the relentless marketing from Sony Pictures that has been ubiquitous for months. There is no word yet on whether or not the film was widely supported by non-black audiences, but with the unprecedented box office success of the movie, it would not be surprising if Think Like a Man were dubbed a crossover triumph.

This weekend, Think Like a Man star Kevin Hart celebrated the film’s success on Twitter. ”#ThinkLikeAMan will be #1 in the Box Office this weekend because of you guys!!!! We did 33million this weekend people, this is INSANE,” Hart tweeted.

Packer also took to Twitter to his express his pride in the film’s achievement this weekend, ”#ThatWonderfulMoment When you try to buy tickets to the Sunday night show of your own movie and it’s sold out! #Thinklikeaman,” he tweeted.

With several weeks still to go in theaters Think Like a Man might continue to make noise at the box office and open the door for Hollywood to create more movies with a predominately black cast.

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC