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What's Up With Magic Mike?

by Melissa Silverstein
June 28, 2012 1:05 PM
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Magic Mike opens tomorrow.  I didn't get an invite to a screening (maybe someone at WB thought I wouldn't be interested but I am) so I can't say anything about the content but I have to take note of intense amount of interest in the film.  Katey Rich at Cinema Blend whose opinion I trust gave it 4.5 stars.  In general, Magic Mike is not exactly the type of film we write about here on Women and Hollywood.  It's a movie about men and directed by a man.  But it seems that the audience for this film is going to be pretty much all women so it is worthy of looking at.

It kind of feels like this will be another event film like the first Sex and the City film where women went with a group of their friends and left the men at home.  I read an article yesterday where director Steven Soderbergh said that this was a movie for guys too and I just laughed.   It feels to me that this movie will repel men even more than a chick flick.

But the proof will be at the box office and if advance ticket sales are any indication this film will make a bundle.  First thing is that it was made for a price - only $5 million.  What make this different from so many movies about women directed by women that are made for a price is that this one is going to open on 2,900 screens.  Most $5 million movies open on a limited amount of screens, at least at the start.  On 2,900 screens it could gross between $30 and $40 million this weekend.  This is the money that Soderbergh will be retiring on.

Just in case you think I'm nuts, the folks at Fandango show that this Magic Mike momentum is real when they reported that over 50% of all their sales on Wednesday were for the film.  Here are some other stats from their poll of mainly women who were buying tickets to see Magic Mike:

  • 87% are planning to see it with a group of women;
  • 81% are 25-49 years old;
  • 82% plan to see it opening weekend
  • 78% said that “Magic Mike” is the summer movie they’re most excited to see on the big screen;
  • 77% feel that female-skewing movies have been lacking in Hollywood;
  • 68% are planning to attend some kind of get-together before or after the movie.So this movie will be successful since it is opening wide.  I can see a scenario happening where the guys go to see Ted and the women go to see Magic Mike.

I feel this film is on the same continuum for women as Fifty Shades of Grey and my friends at Fandango put in a question for me in the poll where they asked if people had read the books.  Fully one third of the people who bought tickets read the book.  That's a lot.

This seems like it will be a bustling weekend at the box office for everyone.  Here's Fandango editor-in-chief Chuck Walton's thought: "The top two performers, ‘Magic Mike’ and “Brave”, show the effect of girl power at the box office. ‘Brave’ for young girls, and ‘Mike’ for the ladies."

And by the way, many women I've spoken with (in my completely unscientific small universe) want to see this movie.  I want to see it.  It looks really fun.  Every movie where a woman plays a stripper is always such a downer (cause women always are made to feel like shit for being in that business) but this one just seems like a hoot.

Anyone else out there interested?

Steven Soderbergh on Magic Mike (Collider)

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  • J. Jackson | July 14, 2012 4:20 PMReply

    I agree with an earlier post. This movie is sexist and very offensive. Clearly not a film for a "real" lady.

  • Bes | July 2, 2012 12:28 PMReply

    I don't care if it objectifies men. What it does is allow women to express the taboo side of their sexuality where they sit on their average sweatpanted bums and check out hot men for a change rather than obsessively worrying how they look and if they have purchased sufficient sexuality through their fashion and beauty purchases. Hollywood never gives this sort of opportunity to female audiences. And it is appropriate to cover this movie in this blog because the interests of female audiences and women in the media business are two different things and someone needs to speak up for the female audience for once.

  • Katie | July 1, 2012 10:39 PMReply

    @ Bob Hawk just what I was thinking. I know this is "Women in Hollywood" but making no mention of all the gay men in the world who might be interested in it seems bizarre.

    @ AThomas Come on. Seriously?

  • AThomas | June 29, 2012 10:01 PMReply

    This movie is sexist and very offensive. Clearly not a film for a "real" lady.

  • bob hawk | June 29, 2012 5:53 AMReply

    "But it seems that the audience for this film is going to be pretty much all women . . ."


  • Katherine | June 28, 2012 11:32 PMReply

    I want to see it! I think it will at least be an entertaining way to enjoy air conditioning. (But I think I will be genuinely entertained.) I have a few guy friends who have either quietly whispered, "Don't tell, I want to see Magic Mike" or, "I'm really excited to see this!" Part of the reason is the director, but mostly it's that it seems like fun. I'm not big on Soderberg, and I wish the story was accurate to Channing Tatum's story, rather than inspired by it. I think Carmen makes a great point, by the way.

  • Alicia | June 28, 2012 7:00 PMReply

    My boyfriend is going to end up dragging me to see this. Is that strange?

    My brain keeps flipping between, "Come on, it's Soderbergh. It's going to be good." and "Eww, male strippers!"

  • Carmen | June 28, 2012 4:12 PMReply

    Thanks for your article. Actually, I don't want to see it, even though I'm crushing on Joe Manganiello. It's being promoted as a "girls night out" movie; that's how I heard about it because some of my friends are eager to see it as a "pack" a la SATC. The "ooh hot guys in the buff" aspect seems just as dehumanizing for men as when movies are promoted with the scantilly clad women. I like Steven Soderbergh's films though, they're consistently good and I like that he takes risks with different stories. I'll be on the lookout for your report back though to let us know if you recommend MM.

  • Linn | June 28, 2012 3:57 PMReply

    I'm a 40 year old, straight woman who willingly is labeled a feminist. And I am DYING to see this movie. And yes, I emailed a bunch of women and we are organizing a group to go see it this Saturday night. And my boyfriend of 5 years has zero interest in going... (and he loves Steven Soderbergh) I too, think it's going to be a hoot!

  • Linn | July 2, 2012 12:38 PM

    @Budmin. I wasn't able to answer your question until I saw the movie. I think it's unfair to judge beforehand (it could have been a satire, it could have been completely offensive - to men and women...) So now I have seen the movie. Does it objectify men? At moments, yes. But it also explores the consequences of this. How the men feel about that. I found it interesting that all the male performers seemed to need to be on a substance of some kind to handle their reality. Which I'm told is true for most female strippers. At moments the male revue show was fun. And then at moments I felt like the revue crossed the line into exploitation of those male characters. Which I think is the point of the movie, and what Channing Tatum and Mr. Soderbergh were exploring, on purpose. What I really liked about the movie is it explored a world where men and women did not have to remain in their little boxes. Women were allowed to have sexual desires, and be encouraged for those feelings. And Mr. Tatum's (male) character was allowed to have desires that were beyond sexual, that he wanted a human being to listen to him, and support his dreams. In my opinion, the more we can explore our collective feelings/desires, without shoving them into boxes - this is for women, this is for men - the better off as a society we'll be. As far as the objectifying, I think this movie does ask the question - is this okay? I ask the same question about porn, I worry about the performer's physical health (STDs), that they're paid and not exploited for their efforts, and the consequences of their job on their psyche. One could also say the same thing about professional football players, the consequence on their psyche for always having to "beat" the other guy/team, and the physical consequences of all those hard hits/concussions to their brains and the long term damage therefore. Strippers are not the only people our society potentially takes advantage of. Or judges harshly because of our confused moral and ethic code of behavior. Double standards abound - men aren't men if they want to talk and not have sex one night. Women are prudes if they're not in the mood to have sex. I think we're better off if we can drop these "cliches" and let ourselves be human beings. Who ideally treat each other well. And the movie Magic Mike explores this exact area. So I liked it. I was challenged to look in the mirror, and see if I liked what I saw...

  • budmin | June 29, 2012 6:27 PM

    I couldn't help but ask....Linn does this movie objectify Men?

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