It defies the conventional wisdom of a season dominated by familiar properties, but Ted pretty much doubled expectations and opened to $54.1 million at the American box office. That's actually a record, marking the third-biggest R-rated opening ever, behind Sex and the City and The Hangover Part II. More specifically, Ted's opening now stands as the highest-opening R-rated non-sequel of all time. That might seem like a lot of little caveats, but the debut of Ted is pretty remarkable.
The unapologetically foul-mouthed comedy represents a victory for Universal Pictures and Seth MacFarlane, making his directorial debut. The movie benefited hugely from the presence of marketable stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, but it was most assuredly marketed as a MacFarlane vehicle, with the director/co-writer/producer also providing the voice and motion-capture performance for the titular teddy bear. The creator of Family Guy earned a big investment from Universal on his first movie, and the studio used his cache as the man behind Family Guy to push Ted to the top. Highly improbable, folks.
Even more improbable is the $39.2 million debut of Magic Mike, a dramedy about male strippers based on the experiences of star Channing Tatum. 2012 has turned out to be the year of Tatum. Following the mad-successful The Vow and 21 Jump Street, the star reteamed with his Haywire director Steven Soderbergh on this thoroughly R-rated picture, and the promise of Tatum and several other beefcakes proved that this country is capable of objectifying males just as well as females. For Soderbergh, this represented a tie with Ocean's Twelve for his biggest ever. To put the staggering performance of Magic Mike in context: it tied the second installment of a massive franchise starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon as the biggest Soderbergh opening ever. For a movie about male strumpets in Florida, that's beyond impressive. Consider that it fell during the crowded summer season, and obviously we're living in a timeline where this is simply the year of the Tatum.
Putting Tyler Perry in a dress pays off, too. While the writer/director/star's last film, Good Deeds, failed to live up to is commercial standards, the presence of his signature character in Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion propelled the movie to a fourth-place opening behind last week's Brave. Coasting on the name recognition of Eugene Levy and Denise Richards, the latest picture starring the spouter of innumerable good afternoonts debuted to $26.4 million. That figure is way beyond the conservative estimates of distributor Lionsgate, which projected a mid-teens opening, hedging its bets against the competition.
The drama People Like Us marks the directorial debut of Alex Kurtzman, the co-writer resonsible for Star Trek and Transformers, but the decidedly more straightforward familial tale opened in tenth place to $4.3 million. Considering the movie's conservative budget, that's not the unhappy opening that some would paint it as, but given the presence of stars like Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pine, one would not be unreasonably to have expected a bigger debut. While unconventional R-rated movies won the weekend, this more family-friendly affair didn't quite capture the nation's imagination.
Here are the top ten movies in America for the last weekend in June. Note that Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom continues to kick ass in a mere 854 theaters:
1. Ted $54.1 million New Release
2. Magic Mike $39.2 million New Release
3. Brave $34.0 million $131.7 million
4. Madea's Witness Protection $26.4 million New Release
5. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted $11.8 million $180.0 million
6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter $6.0 million $29.0 million
7. Prometheus $4.9 million $118.3 million
8. Moonrise Kingdom $4.8 million $18.4 million
9. Snow White and the Huntsman $4.4 million $145.6 million
10. People Like Us $4.3 million New Release
Stay tuned over the next week to see how The Amazing Spider-Man and Savages perform over the holiday week.