Moviegoers may want to pack some extra singles if they’re planning to check out “Magic Mike XXL.”
The original “Magic Mike” was a summer breakout when it debuted in 2012, partly because its frequently undressed cast appealed to women and gay men. In the hopes of re-creating the loose and carefree vibe that had customers flocking to the original film, some theaters are offering up themed cocktails and promotional events that they hope will encourage groups of friends to check out Channing Tatum and crew as they shake their moneymakers for a second go around. The film debuts Wednesday.
“It’s just the perfect demographic for us,” said Cinépolis marketing manager Annelise Holyoak. “There’s going to be a lot of excited ladies, but I don’t think any ruckus will break out.”
To encourage that atmosphere, Cinépolis USA is hosting screenings where guests will be greeted by models wearing “Magic Mike” shirts. They’ll get a chance to pose for pictures with the men, who will do double duty, hand delivering specialty cocktails to certain guests.
Cinépolis isn’t alone. Alamo Drafthouse is hosting what it’s dubbing “rowdy” screenings of “Magic Mike XXL” where customers are encouraged to show their appreciation for the man flesh on display onscreen by hooting and cat-calling. In the U.K., the Odeon Cinemas chain will have special Prosecco-fueled screenings of both “Magic Mike” movies that will also feature performances by semi-naked wait staff called “Butlers in the Buff.”
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At Village Cinemas in Australia, moviegoers can sign up for an event called “flicks with the chicks,” that pairs tickets to “Magic Mike XXL” with glasses of sparkling wine and decadent edibles like chocolate cheesecake and mini-burgers. Stateside, theaters like Studio Movie Grill are offering “Magic Mike” cocktails such as “the Grind,” a DayGlo colored mixed drink that features 1800 Tequila, Mango Rum and other ingredients.
“People are really excited for it,” said Lynne McQuaker, director of alternate programming, public relations and outreach at Studio Movie Grill. “They are anticipating a really fun girls’ night out.”
Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, has done the best to inflame passions leading up to “Magic Mike XXL’s” premiere. The studio held special screenings in 25 major markets such as New York City, San Francisco, Boston and Denver. In order to attend, audience members entered contests sponsored through restaurants, yoga and spinning classes, and book clubs. In addition to getting to see the movie, they were invited to pre-screening receptions with drinks, manicures and flowers handed to them by scantily clad men.
The idea was to try to heighten buzz for the film. In some cases, stars like Tatum, Matt Bomer, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Joe Manganiello surprised audiences by showing up in the flesh. At other screenings, after the house lights dimmed, male dancers busted out some moves to the strains of “Pony” by Ginuwine.
“We leveraged the aspirational appeal of the main cast, led by men who personify the phrase: ‘women want them and men want to be them,'” said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and international distribution at Warner Bros. “Our main thrust was to position [the film] as a fun time at the movies for all adult audiences.”
Needless to say, some promotional items won’t be available at every screening. In lieu of Tatum, moviegoers may have to content themselves with a few sips of “the Grind.”