Here's your weekend box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Ted - $54.1 million
2. Magic Mike - $39.1 million
3. Brave - $34.0 million
4. Madea's Witness Protection - $26.3 million
5. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted - $11.8 million
6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - $6.0 million
7. Prometheus - $4.9 million
8. Moonrise Kingdom - $4.8 million
9. Snow White and the Huntsman - $4.4 million
10. People Like Us - $4.3 million
That sound you hear is the collective applause, high fives and heavy sighs around the offices of Universal and Warner Bros. today. Both studios have had less than stellar summers which has put the first-run columns of their books more in the red than any others this year.
Echoes of The Hangover are reverberating in connection to the teddy bear comedy having the highest opening weekend for an "R"-rated non-sequel comedy. A lot of subheadings there, but there is still plenty of good news in the numbers to look out for after Ted and Magic Mike become the first R-rated duo to open the box office #1-2 in their first weekend since The American and Machete did it with $13.1 & $11.4 million back on Labor Day weekend 2010
In that list being bandied about, your top five R-rated non-sequel openings now looks like this:
Ted ($52.5 million), The Hangover ($44.9), Scary Movie ($42.3), 21 Jump Street ($36.3), Wedding Crashers ($33.9).
All but Jump Street were summer releases and each developed tremendous word of mouth to gross at least 3.71 times its opening weekend. Both The Hangover and Wedding Crashers did an equally whopping 6.17 times their 3-day. If that pattern continues, Ted would be looking at least $200 million just in the U.S. alone, going well past its $50 million budget and profit threshold after marketing and theater splits. With three weeks all to itself until Fox's The Watch looks to grab the same part of market, another $200 million after that for Ted and Universal can be looking at a fresh start with The Bourne Legacy on the horizon. Oliver Stone's Savages could prove to be a minor setback, however.
Those really looking for impressive profit margins, though, can look no further than Warner Bros.' Magic Mike. With only a bare-bones budget of $7 million (less than half of 10th place finisher People Like Us), Steven Soderbergh's male stripper film was already in the black by Friday night proving (as I expected) to be the female party gathering of the summer, opening even better than the Sex and the City sequel ($31 million). The only bad news to potentially make out of this tally is that we are now stuck with Channing Tatum. Soak it in guys, because he is now a star. That is what happens when you can boast three consecutive films to open over $36 million in a single calendar year, and he did it with a romantic weepie, a mocking adaptation of a television show remembered only for producing another movie star and playing the beefcake angle he has at least tried to shed a bit. (Magic Mike IS his best performance - and not just because of the dancing.)
As nearly half of the film's gross was culled from that Friday, this could be a front-loader headed for a steep decline; possibly even keeping it from hitting the $100 million mark. With any luck, perhaps this will persuade Soderbergh to stave off his retirement, provided of course he stays away from depth-lacking scripts from his leading man's business partners. Magic Mike is Soderbergh's best opening outside the Ocean's trilogy and - to further depress us - grossed more in three days than the entire runs of Out of Sight, Solaris, The Informant and Haywire.
I had put the magic number on Brave's second weekend at $35 million so as where the panic button might lie with investors who claimed to be weary at Pixar's quality decline. (Imagine that, Wall St. listening to film critics.) At $34.0 million, it's not suggesting great word-of-mouth but is not any kind of major disappointment unless the foreign numbers don't come through. Right now it is currently $15 million ahead of the pace of Cars 2 (Pixar's lowest grossing film since 1998), $13 million ahead of Madagascar 3 (which is at $180 million after four weekends) and $11 million ahead of The Lorax (which grossed $213 million). Certainly there is a weekday bump in grosses over the summer and Brave is going to face some big challengers over the next two weeks as young boys will prefer Spider-Man over Merida and then the next Ice Age will drop its grosses by another 45-50% after that. Brave may be looking at somewhere between Cars 2's $191 million and The Lorax's $213 which could place it, domestically, in the bottom five of Pixar's canon.
In other numbers news, Fox's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is turning into one of the big busts of the summer on par with both WB's Rock of Ages and Sony's That's My Boy, each of which dropped out of the Top 10 after two weeks. Madea's Witness Protection is the fourth best opening of Tyler Perry's unfortunate career, continuing a trend where he gets a 40% bump when he puts on the dress. The makers of Alex Cross should be furiously photoshopping one onto Perry in time for its October release. Sundance hit Beasts of the Southern Wild and Woody Allen's To Rome With Love had the best per-screen averages with $42,250 and $25,862 on only 4 & 29 screen respectively. Finally, Moonrise Kingdom is just a few million away from being Wes Anderson's second biggest grosser after 2001's The Royal Tenenbaums.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]