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Kevin Hart’s ‘Think Like a Man Too’ Should Laugh Off ‘Jersey Boys’ at Box Office

The comedy sequel aims to top the $33 million opening of the original sleeper hit, but ”22 Jump Street“ and ”Dragon 2“ could make it close

Kevin Hart’s “Think Like a Man Too” is the favorite to claim the box office crown this weekend, though holdovers “22 Jump Street” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” shouldn’t be far behind.

Sony Screen Gems’ Tim Story-directed comedy sequel will open between $30 million and $35 million, say the analysts. The weekend’s other opener, the Clint Eastwood-directed Broadway musical adaptation “Jersey Boys,” is expected to take between $10 million and $15 million.

If last week’s No. 1 movie, Sony’s Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill comedy, and the DreamWorks Animation family film drop 50 percent from their strong openings last weekend, they’ll be at $28 million and $24 million respectively. “Dragon 2” could do even better, since word of mouth is strong and it’s the only animated movie in the market, and “22 Jump Street” played very strongly on Monday ($6.8 million) and Tuesday ($7.3 million), so it could over-achieve as well. Were “Think Like a Man Too” to under-perform, it could get very close.

But that doesn’t seem likely.

Sony Screen Gems’ “Think Like a Man Too” is building on considerable good will from the original, a sleeper hit made for $12 million that opened to $33.6 million in April and went on to take in $96 million in 2012.

Also read: Summer Box Office: You’ve Won Opening Weekend – Now Get Out of Here

The cast — Michel Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, Wendi McClendon-Covey and Gabrielle Union — is back from the first film, with action shifting to Las Vegas for a wedding. Keith Merryman and David A. Newman wrote the script, as they did on the original.

Hart’s had a great year so far at the box office. “Ride Along,” his last comedy collaboration with director Story, opened to $43 million in January and Hart followed that up with the modestly budgeted remake “About Last Night,” which opened to $25.6 million around Valentine’s Day.

The PG-13-rated “Think Like a Man Too” will be the first movie targeting primarily African-American audiences since “Tyler Perry‘s Single Mom’s Club” in March, and that should help as well. Sony clearly has confidence the film will hit the mark, opening it just a week after another of its comedies, “”22 Jump Street.”

See video: Kevin Hart and Jimmy Fallon Scream Through Terrifying Roller Coaster Ride

With nearly 11 million Twitter followers, Hart is a social media force. On Wednesday the tweet count for the movie was running well ahead of “About Last Night” at a similar stage, according to BoxOffice.com. And Hart posted Tuesday on his Facebook page, which has 15 million “likes,” that he would be making “surprise pop ups” at theaters showing “Think Like a Man Too” starting with Thursday’s 7 p.m. early screenings.

“Think Like a Man Too” was outselling all of Hart’s recent movies at a similar stage on Wednesday, according to online ticket broker Fandango.

The film’s producer is Will Packer, who was also behind the original film,  “Ride Along” and “About Last Night.” Steve Harvey — author of the book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” upon which the movies are based — is an executive producer.

“Think Like a Man Too,” which has a $28 million production budget, will be in more than 2,000 theaters. If it does claim the top spot, it will mark the eighth consecutive week that there has been a new No. 1 movie this summer.

See video: Kevin Hart Leads Battle of the Sexes Through Las Vegas in ‘Think Like a Man Too’ Trailer 

JERSEY BOYSWarner Bros.’ big-screen version of Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys” will open in roughly 2,900 theaters. That’s a lot for a movie that targets older audiences, who tend not to rush out for openings.

John Lloyd Young stars as Frank Valli, lead singer for the Four Seasons, the 1960s vocal group behind hits including “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.” Christopher Walken, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, Johnny Cannizzaro and Steve Schirripa co-star.

Also read: ‘Jersey Boys’ Review: Clint Eastwood’s Jukebox Musical Is Nice, Entertaining, Just Not All That Good

The tracking isn’t strong and its social media profile is negligible, but that’s not surprising given the target demographic. Warner Bros. is looking for steady rather than spectacular business from “Jersey Boys,” and it will provide an alternative to summer’s superhero and comedy fare, so it could deliver.

The critics are lukewarm (55 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes), so its CinemaScore and word of mouth will have a lot to do with its staying power.

Graham King, Robert Lorenz and Tim Headington are producers on “Jersey Boys,” which has a production budget of just over $40 million, along with Eastwood. Brett Ratner and Tim Moore are executive producers.

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