Brief thoughts for the weekend as I try to come out of this June slump I've sunk into after a much more successful May prediction season:
Magic Mike's buzz has been reaching mini-event levels among women over the past week or so and the respectable reviews could work in its favor as the film positions itself to be the first bona fide "date night" movie of the summer for some couples.
The film's real strength comes from its female appeal though, and like last year's Bridesmaids the marketing campaign has done a great job of going after that audience. Pre-sales account for over 60% Fandango's business on Thursday and Flixster has a solid 25,000+ "want to see" voter count. Even though I said this last week too, I fully expect tracking to be way off on this one (MTC predicted $19 million versus RS's "mid-teens").
Frankly, in what's become "the year of Channing Tatum", I'm finding it harder and harder to not predict a #1 opening for the flick. Tatum co-starred with Jonah Hill in the R-rated 21 Jump Street (which opened to $36.3 million in March) while he led The Vow to a huge $41.2 million opening the month before that.
It really needs to fire on all cylinders, but I wouldn't rule out the outside possibility of Mike upsetting Brave (which looks to drop to around $36.5 million) for the #1 spot this weekend. The film that might prevent that from happening, however, is...
Ted. It boasts some impressive buzz on its own and though it may struggle to reach some of the male crowd that gets dragged to Mike, those that don't will almost certainly show up for this. Despite the fact that Flixster currently stands at an incredible 96% with 46,000+ votes -- and that tracking projected at least a "high $20 millions" opening -- I'm concerned about the R-rating and the crossover competition from Mike. Last year's Horrible Bosses opened to $28.3 million and had far less competition opening against it. That R-rated comedy may have also had slightly wider appeal with more recognizable faces/names and less "stoner"-centric plot device that Ted carries with it.
I'm staying on the conservative end for Ted, but word of mouth could certainly carry it to great heights over the next few weeks.
Lastly, I suspect that the law of diminishing returns will finally kick in for Tyler Perry's Madea series. The latest entry is the first to open in summer and will have to fight tooth and nail to retain some of its usual opening weekend audience thanks to the incredible buzz of Magic Mike among women of all demographics.
Overall, the top 12 could reach $155-160+ million this weekend if Mike and Ted do their job in helping to revive the summer box office market (outside of kiddie flicks).
Openers' numbers below:
Magic Mike - $36 million
Ted - $23.5 million
Madea's Witness Protection - $16.0 million
People Like Us - $3.5 million