Kevin Hart has struck box office gold once again.
Hart's "Think Like a Man 2" opened Stateside to $12.2 million on Friday and is on track to gross $34 million this weekend. The studio is projecting a slightly more modest $32-$33 million launch.
The Sony/Screen Gem comedy edged out newcomer "Jersey Boys" and last weekend's sparring sequels, "22 Jump Street" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2," for the no. 1 spot. This marks a record-breaking ninth consecutive weekend that a new release has topped the U.S. box office.
If the estimate holds, the sequel will match the original "Think Like a Man" -- an adaptation of Steve Harvey's self-help book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" -- which surprised with a $33.6 million bow two years ago. The pic, with an ensemble cast that includes Jerry Ferrara, Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy and Regina Hall, is set to repeat its predecessor's $96 million domestic haul.
Despite poor reviews (23% on Rotten Tomatoes, A- CinemaScore), this is solid start for "Think Like a Man 2," which cost an estimated $24 million to make.
Moviegoers skewed female, with women comprising 63% of the audience, and 41% under the age 30.
Hart plays a more prominent role in the Las Vegas-set comedy following his recent slew of hits. "Ride Along" opened to $42 million earlier this year and went on to reel in $134 million stateside, while "About Last Night" debuted to $26 million on Valentine's Day weekend.
Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" came in fourth on Friday with $4.6 million. The Warner Bros. pic is on track for a $14 million Stateside launch.
Mixed reviews (55% on Rotten Tomatoes) haven't helped the movie -- an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name -- which primarily targeted older audiences with its marketing. Moviegoers who came out this weekend were likely fans of the hit stage version.
"Jersey Boys," which cost an estimated $40 million, is playing in 2,905 locations.
Holdovers dominated the rest of the top 5.
The comedy sequel showdown continued between "22 Jump Street" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2." Still hot from last weekend's victory, Sony's "Jump Street" came in second with $9.4 million, while Fox-Dreamworks' "Dragon" trailed behind with $7.6 million.
The Jonah Hill-Channing Tatum-starrer is en route to $30-$32 million and an impressive $110 million-plus cume. Only in its second weekend, the pic is already on track to overtake "21 Jump Street," which earned $138 million domestically.
Meanwhile, "Dragon 2" is headed for a $25 million weekend, which would mark a 50% drop and raise its Stateside total to $95 million.
Angelina Jolie's "Maleficent" rounded out the top 5 with $4 million on Friday. The live-action Disney reimagining of "Sleeping Beauty" looks to earn $13 million in its fourth frame to raise its domestic cume to $186 million.
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