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Black ensemble film “Think Like A Man” debuts No. 1, ushers in broad appeal

Steve Harvey and Marjorie Bridges attend the
Steve Harvey and Marjorie Bridges attend the "Think Like a Man" screening at the AMC Empire 25 theater on April 4, 2012 in New York City.
Fernando Leon/Getty Images

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Call it the $12 million budget film that could, and did. Mostly black ensemble romantic comedy “Think Like A Man,” based on comic Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” not only had a smash debut weekend after opening April 20, grossing $33.6 million, it beat out Hollywood juggernaut “The Hunger Games” at the box office, coming in No. 1.

Directed by Tim Story, whose credits include 2002’s “Barbershop,” “Think Like A Man” stars actresses Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and actor-comedian Kevin Hart. The movie has a battle-of-the-sexes premise, revolving around four couples. The women and men strategize against each other, citing advice from Harvey’s book. The film is only being shown in roughly 2,000 theaters, compared to “The Hunger Games,” which has been in more than 4,100 theaters since its March release.

Though movie critics have given “Think Like A Man” mixed reviews, supporters cite its wittiness and universal themes of romance and competition. Director-actor Tyler Perry has already created an empire based on his films geared to the African-American experience.


Is “Think Like A Man”’s box office triumph a sign-to-come of ensemble movies starring black actors being watched by larger, diverse audiences? What makes movies like "Think Like A Man" stand out from the pack?


Christopher Witherspoon, entertainment editor, TheGrio.com

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune film critic