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Weekend Box Office: Grown-ups Return as R-rated 'Ted' and 'Magic Mike' Exceed Expectations

Box Office
by Brian Fuson
July 1, 2012 12:28 PM
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"Magic Mike"

Last weekend pulled kids to two animated PG features, which took the top two spots with close to $90 million between them. This weekend belonged to the grownups as two R-rated pictures, Universal’s “Ted” and Warner Bros. “Magic Mike,” both topped industry expectations with another $90 million top two take. In a big surprise, “Ted” took in a warm and fuzzy estimate of $54.1 million while Steven Soderbergh's sexy “Magic Mike” picked up a slick  $39.2 million.

Lionsgates’ Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Witness Protection” was the third-highest grossing opening ($26.3 million) for a film starring writer-director Perry as Madea, following “Madea Goes to Jail” with $41 million,  “Madea’s Family Reunion” with $30 million, and “Madea’s Big Happy Family” with $25.1 million.

The overall weekend box office total was an estimated $207.7 million, an increase of nearly 3% from the comparable session last year. Heading into the weekend, Universal typically downplayed expectations, so “Ted” came out well ahead of their estimate of $35 to $40 million. Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis star in the comedy, while the voice of Ted was done by the film’s director, "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, who is marking his feature directing debut.

The debut for “Ted” was one for the history books: it was the highest opening ever for an original R-rated comedy, besting “The Hangover,” which opened with $45 million. Nikki Rocco, President of Universal Pictures Distribution, attributed the film’s success to a strong picture with attendant buzz from the marketing campaign and hardworking talent promoting the picture.

The opening was the second biggest for Wahlberg, just behind “Planet of the Apes” with $68.5 million.  Wahlberg boasts a strong recent track record: his other big debuts include “The Perfect Storm” with $41.3 million; “The Other Guys” with “$35.5 million; and “The Happening” with $30.5 million.  His last two wide releases were “Contraband” which debuted with $24.3 million and totaled $66.5 million, and “The Other Guys,” which ended its run with $93.6 million.

“Ted” is the story of a grown man who has to navigate between the woman he loves and Ted, his raunchy and offensive magically live teddy bear. Financed by Media Rights Capital for around $50 million and picked up by Universal and Relativity Media, the film will make sizable profits.

Long term box office prospects look promising as “Ted” scored an “A-“ CinemaScore and a solid 69% aggregate favorable grade on the Tomatometer.  The audience skewed male with 66% and slightly older with 52% over age 30.  On Friday night those under 30 gave the film an “A” CinemaScore.

Steven Soderbergh's “Magic Mike” also soared past expectations this weekend as the comedy-drama was expected to gross between $25 million to $30 million. Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey star in the film that was loosely based on Tatum’s brief experience as an 18-year-old stripper.

Independently financed for around $7 to $10 million, the film was acquired by Warner Bros. and is already profitable. Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution for Warner Bros., noted that women showed up in droves: 73% of the audience was female, with 57% under the age of 35.  The film may have some legs down the stretch: it picked up a 79% fresh grade from critics on RottenTomatoes.com, which was the highest score of any of this weekend’s new films, and generated a moderate “B” grade from CinemaScore.

Like Wahlberg, Tatum has been scoring at the boxoffice of late: comedy “21 Jump Street” opened with $36.3 million, and “The Vow” debuted with $41.2 million.

Lionsgates’ Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Witness Protection” was the third-highest grossing opening for film starring writer-director  Perry as Madea, following “Madea Goes to Jail” with $41 million,  “Madea’s Family Reunion” with $30 million, and “Madea’s Big Happy Family” with $25.1 million.

The PG-13 rated comedy stars Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, Doris Roberts, Romeo and Tom Arnold.  “Witness Protection” marks Perry’s 13th film distributed by Lionsgate and his first to be released during the summer--all the others opened in the winter or spring.

This story involves a Wall Street investment banker who has been set up as the linchpin of his company's mob-backed Ponzi scheme and is relocated with his family to Aunt Madea's southern home.   The budget for the film was a relatively low $20 million.  “Witness” could hold in the weeks to come as Perry has a devoted fan base and the film picked up an “A-“ CinemaScore. Critics' rotten 29% score on the Tomatometert will not deter Madea fans.

Disney’s PG-13 semi-autobiographical drama “People Like Us” marks the directorial debut of screenwriter/producer Alex Kurtzman (“Transformers” and “Star Trek").  Chris Pine stars as a man whose father leaves him $150,000 to deliver to a half-sister (Elizabeth Banks) he’s never met. The good news for Disney is that that film was made for a low $16 million. “People” garnered a modest “B+” CinemaScore and needed stronger reviews; just 54% of reviewers gave the film a positive nod on Rotten Tomatoes.

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