"Think Like a Man Too" opened at No. 1 with an estimated $30.0 million. For most movies (especially low-budget ensemble comedies), that number would seem an unmitigated success. But it's a lot lower than pundits had predicted (which was in the upper 30s), and lower even than the first "Think Like a Man," which seemingly came out of nowhere two years ago and premiered with $33.6 million, largely on the strength of then-rising comic Kevin Hart.
The movie's marketing emphasized bro-friendly Vegas bachelor party premise, but today, not even Hart's presence is a guarantee that guys will show up. Back in February, just a month after his cop comedy "Ride Along" opened to $41.5 million, his remake of "About Last Night" debuted with a comparatively tepid $25.6 million.
Much of that film's cast, including Hart, Michael Ealy, and Regina Hall, are back in "Think Too," but maybe viewers sense that "Think Too" is, like "About," more of a battle-of-the-sexes farce than a bros-party movie. That sort of thing tends to appeal more to women than to men. Indeed, exit polling shows that "Think Too"'s audience was 63 percent female and just 37 percent male.
"Jersey Boys," which opened slightly better than its modest expectations -- pundits had predicted a debut of $11 million, but it debuted with an estimated $13.5 million, good for fourth place -- drew a similar gender-split crowd, an audience that was 61 percent women and 39 percent men. Again, this was a movie that was supposed to have guy appeal -- it's based on a hit stage show about a once very-popular band, it's directed by Clint Eastwood, and it's about four guys who came from a rough neighborhood and had to deal with organized-crime thuggery to reach the top. Unfortunately, neither Eastwood nor any other recognizable name star appears in any of the lead roles; the heyday of the Four Seasons was 50 years ago, long before younger moviegoers were born; and it's a musical. So, three strikes against it for the dude audience.
Mind you, those who did go see "Think Too" or "Jersey Boys" really liked them, giving them each an A- grade at CinemaScore. That's despite the lukewarm reviews for both movies by most critics. Then again, most critics are men, and if they were disappointed by the machismo quotient of these films, well, maybe that was all the more reason women audiences liked them.
But the guys' aversion to these two films is also happening during a summer when pure guy fare (like "A Million Ways to Die in the West" or "Edge of Tomorrow") has largely failed to live up to its box office potential, while movies aimed more at girls and women have been smashes (see "Maleficent" and "The Fault in Our Stars." Comedies that appeal to both sexes, like "Neighbors" and "22 Jump Street," have also done well. Hollywood traditionally thinks of summer as the time when teenage guys out of school are expected to be the ones choosing action blockbusters as date-night fare. But that hasn't been the case this summer.
If Hollywood can't figure out why it's repelling the audience that was once it's most easily manipulated demographic, the next "Think Like a Man" movie is going to be about a brainstorming session among desperate studio executives.