Box Office Preview: 'Think Like a Man,' 'Lucky One' Vie to Topple 'Hunger Games'
Overseas, "Battleship" opens in another 26 markets and goes up against "Titanic 3D" in China; the 3D release of James Cameron's classic has earned nearly $200 million internationally and will jump the $100 million mark in China on Saturday.
Films based on popular books will continue to dominate the domestic box office this weekend as the feature adaptations of Nicholas Sparks' The Lucky One and Steve Harvey's Think Like a Man set out to unseat The Hunger Games, which is widely expected to cede the No. 1 spot after dominating for four consecutive weekends.
Screen Gems' African-American-themed Think Like a Man and Warner Bros.' Lucky One could find themselves in a close race with each other; both are projected to gross in the $15 million to $20 million range.
Think Like a Man's, whose cast includes Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall and Kevin Hart, is about four men whose love lives are disrupted when their partners begin using advice from Harvey's book.
Sparks has become a brand name at the box office, and Lucky One, starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling, marks the seventh film adaptation of his books. Still, the female-driven pic is tracking to open noticeably less than Dear John ($30.5 million) and behind The Last Song ($25.3 million), both released in 2010.
Earlier this year, the Sparks-like romantic drama The Vow, starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, opened to $41.2 million domestically.
Warners, which partnered with Village Roadshow on Lucky One, points out that movies based on Sparks' novels have great multiples; Nights in Rodanthe grossed $41.8 million after opening to only $13.4 million, and The Notebook debuted to $13.5 million and grossed $81 million.
The third new film of the weekend is Disney's latest nature documentary Chimpanzee, which is expected to open in the $8 million range. The pic was co-produced by Disneynature and the Jane Goodall Institute, with proceeds of the opening weekend box office going to benefit Goodall's organization.
Lionsgate's Hunger Games has placed No. 1 every day since opening March 23, earning $341 million domestically and north of $200 million overseas. Last weekend, it took in $21.1 million.
Overseas, Universal's Battleship -- which has earned a solid $72.2 million internationally since opening a week ago -- moves into an additional 26 territories, including China, where it will go up against James Cameron's Titanic 3D, a record-breaking hit in that market.
Titanic 3D has earned nearly $200 million offshore, without nearly half coming from China, and grossed about $48 million in North America.
On Wednesday, Battleship debuted in China to $3 million, the best opening day ever for a Universal title there, but Titanic led with roughly $4.8 million.
Battleship is off to a good start in Russia, where it posted an opening-day gross of $2.1 million on Thursday, ahead of Transformers ($1 million), Iron Man ($1.3 million) and Thor ($1.4 million). Russia's opening is an estimate only and isn't included in the $72.2 million tally.
Battleship doesn't open domestically until May 18.