Malcolm D. Lee‘s sequel The Best Man Holiday — opening nearly 15 years after the first film — could approach or cross $33 million in its North American debut, vastly exceeding expectations.


The Universal comedy is pacing to gross $13 million or more on Friday, possibly eclipsing “Thor: The Dark World for the day,” although “Thor 2″ is still tipped to stay at No. 1 in its second weekend with a gross north of $37 million.

“Thor 2″ 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, “Best Man Holiday” — projected to top out at $20 million — 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 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 spent a modest $17 million to make the sequel, which Lee produced with Sean Daniel.

Get the rest of this story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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