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In a strong start to the pre-holiday weekend, Universal’s Ted and Warner Bros.’ Magic Mike both overperformed in Thursday midnight runs.
Directed by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, Ted grossed $2.6 million from 1,090 theaters across North America. The R-rated comedy stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, while MacFarlane voices the raunchy teddy bear.
Box-office observers believe Ted has a shot at besting holdover Brave for the weekend crown with a debut in the $35 million to $40 million range on the strength of younger males (the studio is predicting a more conservative $26 million to $35 million).
Ted was packaged and fully financed for $50 million by Media Rights Capital.
PHOTOS: ‘Magic Mike’ Stars Suit Up for LAFF Premiere
Opinion is divided as to how much Brave will gross in its second weekend after opening to a stellar $66.3 million. If the film drops 50 percent, it will earn $33 million; if it drops 40 percent, it will gross $40 million.
The wild card of the weekend is Steven Soderbergh’s R-rated male-stripper dramedy Magic Mike, which grossed $2.1 million in midnight shows from 1,100 locations. The cast of the film, loosely based on star Channing Tatum‘s early days as an exotic dancer, also includes Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer.
Warner Bros. acquired North American rights to Magic Mike for only $7 million.
Magic Mike, benefiting from intense interest among women, has racked up strong advance ticket sales, in line with previous female-skewing films including fellow Warners pic Sex and the City. The studio is predicting an opening in the $15 million to $20 million range for Magic Mike, though other box-office observers believe it could earn as much as $25 million.
The weekend’s other two new entries are Tyler Perry’s latest outing Madea’s Witness Protection, from Lionsgate, and DreamWorks and Disney’s adult drama People Like Us, directed by Alex Kurtzman and starring Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Witness Protection likewise is expected to have a good weekend, opening in the $20 million range, if not higher. It’s the first time Lionsgate has opened a Perry film in summer, and the studio is counting on good midweek business because of the Fourth of July holiday.
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