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African-American comedy ‘Best Man Holiday’ nearly topples ‘Thor’



Published: Sun, November 17, 2013 @ 4:33 p.m.

African-American comedy ‘Best Man Holiday’ nearly topples ‘Thor’

NEW YORK

In an unlikely battle of sequels, “Thor: The Dark World” bested “The Best Man Holiday” at the box office.

Disney’s “Thor: The Dark World” continued its box-office reign with $38.5 million in its second week of release, according to studio estimates Sunday. Opening 15 years after the original “The Best Man,” Universal’s “The Best Man Holiday” opened strongly with $30.6 million.

Drawing an overwhelmingly female and African-American audience, “The Best Man Holiday” was a surprise challenger for the mighty “Thor.” The R-rated romantic comedy, with an ensemble cast including Morris Chestnut and Taye Diggs, debuted with more than three times the box office of 1999’s “The Best Man.” That film opened with $9 million.

The performance of Malcolm D. Lee’s “The Best Man Holiday” continued an ongoing trend. Movies that appeal particularly to black audiences have often been surpassing expectations at the box office.

“It’s a familiar refrain, and it’s getting a little tired,” said Lee. “I thought we had a chance to do something special.”

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” led the box office for several weeks in August, leading to a cumulative total of $115.5 million domestically. The Oscar-contender “12 Years a Slave” has made $25 million in five weeks of limited release.

Lee said that while black audiences “see everything” at the movies, from action movies to romantic comedies, he hopes broader audiences begin responding to so-called “black films.” The audience for “Best Man Holiday” was 87 percent African-American.

Regardless, a third “Best Man” film now seems a likely bet.


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