'Best Man Holiday' likely to be second best to 'Thor' at box office

  • Article by: Amy Kaufman
  • Los Angeles Times
  • November 15, 2013 - 9:17 AM

“Thor: The Dark World” will steal the thunder of “The Best Man Holiday” at the box office this weekend.

After opening with a healthy $85.7 million, the 3-D superhero sequel is expected to collect at least $40 million more during its second weekend in theaters, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys.

Its only other competition is the lone new wide release, “The Best Man Holiday,” a modestly budgeted sequel aimed at African-Americans poised to open with a robust $23 million. Universal Pictures, which is distributing the film, is predicting an opening of about $17 million.

The original “Thor” saw its ticket sales tumble 47 percent in its second week in theaters in 2011. Its predecessor will probably see a similar drop this weekend, its last before facing off against “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

That young adult franchise is expected to dominate ticket sales when it opens late next week, potentially collecting more than $150 million from Thursday evening to Sunday.

“The Best Man Holiday,” about old friends who reunite over Christmas, has earned largely positive reviews. The film is a sequel to 1999’s “The Best Man,” which grossed $34 million. Both films were directed by Malcom D. Lee and feature many of the same actors, including Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard and Nia Long. The sequel, financed for about $17 million by Universal, is generating the most interest among older females.

A number of holiday-themed films featuring black ensemble casts are hitting theaters this fall, including “Black Nativity” and “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.” The most recent comedy marketed to African-American moviegoers, the romantic comedy “Baggage Claim,” underperformed in September with just $21.4 million in sales.

In limited release, Paramount Pictures is releasing its black-and-white family drama “Nebraska” in two theaters in Los Angeles and another couple in New York. The film, which stars Bruce Dern as an elderly man convinced he has won a $1 million sweepstakes, has become a critical darling since premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Paramount is hopeful that audiences will spread word-of-mouth about the $12 million production before it expands to more theaters this month.

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