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Think Like a Man: box-office bonanza

Gail Choice | 4/25/2012, 5 p.m.

According to the Hollywood Reporter (THR) "Think Like a Man" scored one of the best openings in recent memory for an African American-themed film in debuting at $33 million.

Futhermore, "Think Like a Man," adapted from Steve Harvey's best-selling advice book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," gets bragging rights to being the film to topple Lionsgate's blockbuster "The Hunger Games"--which has now grossed $357 million domestically--from it's No. 1 perch.

The film stars Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall and Kevin Hart, and is about four men whose love lives are disrupted when their partners begin using advice from Harvey's book.

Statistics reports that males turned out in force, making up 63 percent of the audience. "Think Like a Man" skewed older, with 62 percent older than 30.

It's a relationship movie, and we're all trying to figure things out, and if we see any part of our lives reflected in the movie, we either breathe a sigh of relief, thinking, "Well, I'm not so weird, or off base," or we hide our heads in shame. Whatever the case may be, we want to see how the opposite sex handles the various situations that crop up in relationships. This topic is a recipe for success. And what a great cast to make the point.

Critics rushed to compare "Think Like a Man's" box-office bingo to Tyler Perry films. Perry's latest film, "Good Deeds," pulled in $15.6 million in its debut. However, a number of Perry's films debuted at $25 million . . . And "Madea Goes to Jail" brought in $41 million on its opening weekend.

Perry, in a recent email had this to say about the film: "Steve Harvey has a movie opening today called, 'Think Like a Man.' I went to the premiere about a week ago, and it's hilarious. Hope you're planning to go see it. It's so important that we all win!"

Get out if you can. Kevin Hart is hysterical in this film. Keep an eye on him. That kid is going to be huge.

The big question is did non-Blacks also attend this film? Those box-office stats are not in yet, but Harvey's presence on TV and radio has drawn a cross-over appeal, especially TV's "Family Feud," which targets all racial groups. And remember his book got a big push on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" when he sat down and talked to her about why he wrote it, and what men might think of him after their "trade secrets" were put out in the open.

There are a number of African American-themed movies in production, but not on the studio level. These films suffer because there is little money to dedicate to publicity and promotion, which Sony poured into hyping "Think Like a Man." Although the reviews for this movie were mixed, it clearly didn't stop folks from seeing the movie for themselves, proving that everyone doesn't have to love a film to make it a success.

Hollywood is stunned that an African American-themed movie was the first film in four weeks to topple "The Hunger Games," leaving a number of Black critics hoping that the industry views the success of this film as an example of what attracts a large audience. And hopefully, as a result, more African American-themed movies will get the greenlight for production. Well, we can only hope.

"Think Like a Man" is in theaters now.

Gail can be reached at gail@hollywoodbychoice.com.