best man holiday - cast - red scarves*On Saturday we reported that “The Best Man Holiday” actually beat “Thor 2” at the box office on Friday, but Thor rebounded on Saturday to win the weekend again (in its second week of release).

But what’s interesting is that “Best Man Holiday” is likely to reach the $31 million mark in its debut weekend. The film was made for just $17 million. OK, let’s see … $31 million minus 17 million = Instant profit! Furthermore, its 2,024 screen count is much lower than Thor‘s 3,841, and its per screen average is $15,115 to Thor‘s $10,011. So if you do the math, you can see if it had more screens and or more screenings, it would a different outcomer. Most likely “The Best Man Holiday” woould be the number one film.

In the meantime, here’s the box office report from The Hollywood Reporter:

“Thor: The Dark World” stayed at No. 1 in its second weekend at the North American box office, but Malcolm D. Lee’s African-American comedy “The Best Man Holiday” came much closer than anyone expected to the hammer-wielding superhero in grossing $30.6 million to place No. 2.

Universal’s “Best Man Holiday,” hitting theaters nearly 15 years after the first film, opened notably higher than expected after receiving an A+ CinemaScore in every category. The film, expected to debut in the $20 million range, nabbed the fifth-largest opening ever for an R-rated romantic-comedy and was fueled by females (75 percent). Black movieogers made up 87 percent of the audience.

“Best Man Holiday” 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.

“Besides being a great movie, the marketing department did a great job of reaching out to the core audience,” said Universal distribution chief Nikki Rocco.

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.

Interestingly, the report concludes that  “Best Man Holiday” took some amount of business away from Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years a Slave,” which fell 30 percent to $4.6 million. However, the awards contender is still one of the biggest indie success stories of the year, grossing $24.9 million to date in North America.

Get the rest of the box office story at The Hollywood Reporter.”