Is Steve Harvey the New Tyler Perry (Of the Box Office)?

'Urban relationship comedy' now applies to more than Medea

The box office smash of the weekend

Think Like a Man, the new ensemble film based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, won several notable distinctions this weekend. Not only did it knock Hunger Games off its top slot at the box office–where the popular film about children killing other children had been residing since it premiered five weeks ago–but its opening weekend gross made more money than any Tyler Perry premiere, save one.

Madea Goes to Jail opened at just over $41 million in February of 2009. Though we tend to think of Tyler Perry productions as unstoppable money-making machines, none of his subsequent films ever topped that number. Think Like a Man, however, opened at $33 million:  $8 million less than Madea Goes to Jail, but $10 million more than Mr. Perry’s next-biggest cinematic feature, For Colored Girls, which raised slightly under $20k when it opened in 2010. Think Like a Man also made approximately double the amount of Mr. Perry’s most recent movie, Good Deeds, in opening weekend grosses.

Sure, one could make the argument that it’s unfair to compare Think Like a Man to Tyler Perry’s films, just because they both were created by and marketed to African-Americans. (Actually, if you did a venn diagram of the actors in the films of Tyler Perry and those in Think Like a Man, it would just essentially be one big circle, thanks to stars Michael Ealy, Jennifer Lewis, and Gabrielle Union.)

But realistically, that’s where we’re at: the films marketed to a certain demographic will invariably get compared to one another instead of standing on its own ability.  Even while evaluating the film’s success, used the amazing phrase: “Distributor Sony Screen Gems artfully marketed the movie to ‘urban’ (black) radio stations and TV networks…”

Earlier in the review, Time described Think Like a Man as an “urban relationship comedy.” No need for a parentheses that time, since ostensibly readers will have understood what ‘urban’ stands for. (It stands for black (which stands for African-American (etc., etc.,))).

Is Steve Harvey the New Tyler Perry (Of the Box Office)?