Insane Movie Line-Up Brings Big Box Office
By John Hamann
July 1, 2012
It gets weirder, because these R-Rated raunch-fests are good movies as well, at least according to the critics. Ted, a film I thought would be beat to death just because Seth “Family Guy” MacFarlane was involved, actually finished on the fresh side, and has a lot of fans. Ted garnered 112 reviews, and of those, 77 were of the positive variety, leaving the Universal release with a fresh rating of 69%. The praise didn't just come from web reviewers with Stewie Griffin desktop wallpaper, NPR and Time Magazine also liked it. R-Rated talking bear movies don't earn $50 million. They need to crossover into different audience plots. Nonetheless, this one did it, with a whole bunch of style.
Seth MacFarlane can now write his own ticket for his next film. Why? Ted cost Universal only $50 million to make, and this one is going to earn at least three times that over its domestic run. Will Ted be embraced overseas? I don't see why not. Family Guy is a global phenomenon, and Mark Wahlberg's films do okay overseas. There is no reason why this isn't at least a $250 million worldwide picture, and good for Universal. They stepped out of the comfort zone and delivered a hit.
Speaking of hits, Magic Mike is second this weekend and is just that - a home run for director Steven Soderbergh. The men had Ted this weekend, while the women had Magic Mike, a somewhat true story about Channing Tatum's term as a male stripper. Magic Mike also had some big numbers from Thursday midnight shows, as it took in $2.1 million prior to opening, only $600,000 behind that of Ted. Friday numbers were also eerily close. After midnights were removed, they showed $17.6 million for Ted, and a jaw-dropping $17.3 million for Magic Mike (cue the sound of a record being scratched). Yes, the male-stripper movie earned 2.5 times what it cost Warner Bros. to pick this one up ($7 million) for distribution. Because of the strong content that would obviously pull viewers to seeing it at night, the weekend multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) is going to be lower than your usual R-Rated release - similar to what the Sex and the City films did. The multiplier came in at 2.1, quite a bit lower than Ted's 2.9.
The difference between Magic Mike and a movie like Striptease or Showgirls is film quality. It would seem that movies about women stripping for men get terrible reviews and earn poorly. Movies about men stripping for women (or gay men) are the complete opposite (The Full Monty anyone?). Showgirls was 12% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, while Striptease was 11% fresh. Magic Mike on the other hand, is 80% fresh at RottenTomatoes, with critics much higher at an unbelievable 91% fresh. Soderbergh has obviously made a movie that goes beyond the thrill of the flesh, and into the cerebral thrill of the mind. Legs will be an interesting question, as if it continues to behave like Sex in the City, it will disappear quickly.