In a rare something-for-everyone weekend at the domestic box office, “Ted” stuffed Universal’s coffers with a whopping $54 million — the biggest bow for an original R comedy — while Channing Tatum hit yet again with a midbudget moneymaker, this time peeling off $39 million for Warner Bros.’ stripper pic “Magic Mike.”
Overseas, families and fanboys led the charge as two films made early bows: Fox’s “Ice Age: Continental Drift” impressed with $78.1 million from 34 territories, and Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” took $50.2 million in a 13-country rollout.
The weekend’s diverse lineup kept Stateside totals even with last year, a tough bar to hit considering “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” debuted to $98 million.
In a summer of R-rated successes,”Ted,” which exceeded the most optimistic pre-weekend predictions by at least $10 million, bested “The Hangover’s” $45 million domestic debut in 2009. “Magic Mike,” meanwhile, wasn’t expected to gross much more than $20 million — but it made nearly that on opening day. Still, a steeper-than-expected Friday-to-Saturday drop of 41% (some were predicting a 25% drop at most) could signal trouble for the pic’s playability.
Popular on Variety
Along with the weekend’s top players, Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry pic “Madea’s Witness Protection” also overperformed, grossing an estimated $26.4 million, while last weekend’s No. 1 pic, Disney-Pixar’s “Brave,” held OK in its second frame, dropping 49% for an estimated three-day take of $34 million.
“I was getting calls all weekend long from exhibitors excited about how theaters were hopping across the country,” said Lionsgate distribution exec David Spitz.
Struggling in its opening frame, DreamWorks’ family dramedy “People Like Us” collected a paltry $4.3 million. Even though it received a solid B+ CinemaScore rating, “People” failed to find its audience — likely hit by an overabundance of other well-received product.
In addition to its strong start for “Spider-Man,” Sony had another reason to be enthusiastic this weekend, as “Men in Black 3” became the franchise’s highest-grossing installment, collecting $599.4 million so far worldwide. The original “MIB” cumed $589.4 million globally in 1997.
At the specialty B.O., Fox Searchlight successfully bowed fest darling “Beasts of the Southern Wild” at four locations in New York and L.A. Pic bowed Wednesday for a five-day total of $220,447, averaging more than $55,000 per screen.
In its sixth frame, “Moonrise Kingdom” expanded to 854 theaters, landing in the top 10 for the third weekend. The Focus Features pic grossed $4.9 million; domestic cume is $18.4 million.
Despite a restrictive rating, “Ted” managed to draw a significant under-30 turnout, at 48%. The film skewed male, though women made up a considerable 44% of the opening gross.
“We had great talent who worked as hard as ever to get the message out about a fantastic movie that satisfies audiences looking for adult comedy,” said U distribution prexy Nikki Rocco.
Not surprisingly, an overwhelming 73% of the “Magic Mike” debut aud were women; under-35 auds made up 57%.
Just as “Ted” and “Magic Mike” managed to attract auds outside their core demos, last weekend’s toon holdovers — “Brave” and “Madagascar 3” — continued to boost totals by appealing to moviegoers beyond families.
That the weekend kept pace with 2011 is more impressive given that July 4th fell on Monday last year, meaning Sunday saw increased moviegoing. Tuesday’s “Spider-Man” bow will lift mid-week grosses further, which also should benefit holdovers because of increased theater traffic.
Warner domestic distribution prexy Dan Fellman admitted that while “Magic Mike” took a sizable hit Saturday, exit polls indicate that the best audience ratings were among the film’s core under-35 aud, which gave the pic a B+ CinemaScore vs. its overall B rating.
“Mike,” based on Tatum’s real-life experience as a stripper, is just the latest height in his steady rise of late; his two most recent films, “The Vow” and “21 Jump Street,” crossed $100 million each domestically.
It’s uncertain whether word-of-mouth can propel “Mike” to those heights. Financially, the film is already successful considering Warners acquired North American rights for just $7 million. Pic cost $6.5 million. Studio also kept marketing costs down by relying heavily on viral support.
“There was a lot of online conversation from groups of women reminiscent to ‘Sex and the City,'” Fellman said.
U focused most of its marketing efforts on popularity for “Ted” writer-director Seth MacFarlane (TV’s “Family Guy”) and Mark Wahlberg. MacFarlane produced the pic, along with Scott Stuber, John Jacobs and Jason Clark.
R-rated comedies typically have longer legs than most other pics — if word of mouth takes hold. “Ted,” which received a solid A- CinemaScore, drew stellar results in Australia, where it earned $2.8 million from previews on Friday and Saturday. Pic expands wide locally on Thursday, with an added rollout in Taiwan.
Stateside playability for Perry’s “Witness Protection” should be strong, as the helmer typically registers well with his core African-American demographic. “Protection” drew a larger-than-usual white and Latino crowd for Perry pics.
Fox’s fourth installment in the boffo “Ice Age” franchise scored studio bests in Mexico and Brazil, collecting $13.8 million and $6.9 million, respectively. Pic’s Mexican bow — ahead of No. 2 territory France, with $11.8 million — also marks the country’s third-highest industry opening. In Gaul, meanwhile, “Ice Age” opened better than “The Avengers” locally.
Launching mostly throughout Asia (except in China), “Spider-Man” earned top marks in South Korea, where it grossed $13.4 million, followed by Japan, with $11.4 million. Sony expands “Spider-Man” elsewhere internationally this week; “Ice Age” debuts day-and-date with the U.S. on July 13 in 16 markets, including the U.K. and Russia.