Weekend Wrap-Up

Insane Movie Line-Up Brings Big Box Office

By John Hamann

July 1, 2012

They all had a lot of regrets the next morning.

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Let me get this straight. It's the pre-July 4th weekend, and films opening this weekend include a male-stripper movie with Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, an R-Rated comedy about a talking teddy bear; a Tyler Perry Madea movie, and, a weepy drama. What month is it again? In 2009, this was the weekend where Michael Bay stole allowances from a generation of kids with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which took in $109 million. This weekend, the scheduled blockbuster, GI Joe, fled the weekend as Seth MacFarlane's Ted opened alongside Magic Mike, a movie that did a whole lot better than Striptease.

In one of the weirder weekends in recent box office memory, Universal's Ted won the weekend, outpacing the tracking estimate by $20 million or more, with second place going to the overperforming Magic Mike, Warner Bros' male-stripper movie from wunderkind director Steven Soderbergh. These are two R-Rated non-blockbusters that have a combined budget lower than that of That's My Boy. One could have made these two films four times over for the cost that went into The Avengers. And while they are not seeing an Avengers sized opening weekend, the cost-to-profit ratio is going to be much better.

This box office weekend is like The Island of Lost Toys. Usually, the blockbuster film would open the weekend prior to the July 4th frame, and sail through the long weekend much like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen did. Revenge of the Fallen earned $293 million in its first 12 days, from June 24th to July 5th. This is one of the sweet spots of the yearly box office, and two raunch fests are going to dominate, although they will have to deal with The Amazing Spider-Man starting on July 3rd. For now they are jewels, but as of Tuesday, they are likely roadkill.


Seth MacFarlane's Ted is the number one film of the weekend, after starting with an eye-popping $2.7 million from Thursday midnight screenings. This one was not like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, last weekend's film that started well at midnight, but faded severely over the weekend proper. Ted turned a positive midnight into a super-strong Friday, earning $17.6 million (recorded as $20.2 million, but less the $2.7 million from midnight screenings). Both numbers were higher than that of the first Hangover, which grossed $16.7 million on opening day, on its way to a $45 million weekend. At the time, The Hangover was the biggest R-Rated comedy opener, but not anymore.

Ted turned a solid Friday into a weekend gross of $54.1 million, one of the best ever for an R-rated comedy, and crowns MacFarlane as the new go to guy for comedy (sorry Todd Phillips). Ted was out to only 3,239 venues, and scored an average of $16,705. The studio predicted $26 million to $35 million for Ted. Box office analysts said $35 million to $40 million. BOP's own Reagen Sulewski said $27.6 million – so you can see how much this one has surprised. It's like everyone went nuts for the movies this weekend – makers, studios, exhibitors and most of all, patrons. I can't hammer the "Go Figure" button enough. It's that ludicrous.

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