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‘Best Man Holiday’ Expected To Overperform At Opening

The Best Man Holiday PosterMalcolm D. Lee’s sequel The Best Man Holiday — opening nearly 15 years after the first film — could cross $20 million in its North American debut in a solid launch for the African-American film.

No one is surprised that top spoils will go to Thor: The Dark World, which will stay at No. 1 in its second weekend with a gross in the $40 million range after opening to $85.7 million last weekend domestically.

The 3D tentpole could approach $450 million in global ticket sales by the end of the weekend — catching up with the entire gross of the first Thor ($449.3 million) in another major victory for Disney and Marvel Studios’ Avengers universe.

From Universal, The Best Man Holiday sees Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Monica Calhoun and Melissa De Sousa reprising their roles. The first film, opening to $9 million in 1999, is credited with helping to usher in the era of aspirational African-American comedies.

Black films have been making strong gains at the North American box office, with Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and and 12 Years a Slave all overperforming. Those movies — all dramas — are drawing a mixed audience, while Best Man Holiday is expected to play primarily to African-Americans, similar to Tyler Perry’s pics.

Universal insiders believe Best Man Holiday, costing roughly $17 million to make, will open in the $17 million to $20 million range. Lee produced the film with Sean Daniel.

According to online ticketing service Fandango, the film is sparking keen interest, with sales outpacing Think Like a Man, which opened to $33.6 million in April 2012 (one big difference, that film didn’t have to contend with an all-audience tenptole like Thor 2).

Read the rest of this story at The Hollywood Reporter.  Watch the trailer here.

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