The Best Man Holiday writer and director Malcolm D. Lee refused to predict his opening weekend box office gross in a Thursday interview. “I have predicted what my movies are going to make opening weekend and it’s backfired because it’s never what I expect. I hope it exceeds my expectation, “said Spike Lee’s cousin.
The Best Man Holiday budget was “a little over $16 million” and this weekend the movie grossed an estimated $30.6 million, earning more than 42 ($27.5 million), Lee Daniels’ The Butler ($24.6 million), and 12 Years a Slave ($4.8 million-Nov. 1 release) in their opening weekends. Almost 15 years after Lee’s directorial debut, the Best Man sequel fought all weekend with Disney and Marvel’s Thor: A Dark World, which after less than two weeks in theaters has already hit its $100 million mark.
The sophomore story also did significantly better than the original Best Man, which only made $9 million in its opening box office weekend in 1999.
“There was really no intention on my part of doing a sequel,” said Lee but he knew that if a sequel did come about he wanted to wait for the actors, the plot, and even himself, as a director, to mature. “I have grown as a filmmaker. These actors have grown as performers,” said Lee as he reflected on the long absence.
In 2011, Lee reassembled the original cast and invited them to dinner to pitch the sequel idea. Lee then directed the original cast to sit down together and watch the original Best Man. Once reunited, that chemistry was “instant.” Lee also cited the cast’s chemistry as “pretty amazing” and full of “collective energy.”
He added,”They have a great energy but they also wanted to challenge each other as well as be supportive of one another in the scenes,” said Lee.
The 9-person original cast returned, consisting of Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Nia Long, Terrance Howard, Harold Perrineau, Monica Calhoun, and Melissa De Sousa.
There were two new additions to cast; Eddie Cibrian played Brian McDonald, Jordan’s new boy toy, and Harper’s book agent, Stan (John Michael Higgins).
Many cast members have worked together before. For example, Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs headlined the hip hop romantic classic Brown Sugar (2002) while Morris Chestnut and Nia Long worked together in the early 1990s on the gang related drama, Boyz N The Hood (1991).
Malcolm D. Lee joins Steve McQueen and Lee Daniels in the class of great 2013 Black directors. While the year is almost over, two Black directors are still waiting to bat. Based off of a 2011 musical, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas will be in theaters December 13th. Perry will put on his elderly woman drag with the help of Anna Maria Horsford and Larry the Cable Guy. And an all-Black cast featuring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Nas will star in Black Nativity, a movie from Eve Bayou’s Director, Kasi Lemmons. Black Nativity will be in theatres the day before Thanksgiving, November 27th.