After nearly two months of Summer movies targeted at younger audiences, this weekend served as a good reminder that adults like to go to the theater too. Seth MacFarlane's Ted scored one of the best R-rated comedy debuts ever, while R-rated male stripper flick Magic Mike proved to be a very attractive option. Even the latest PG-13 Tyler Perry movie, Madea's Witness Protection, had a strong opening propelled mainly by older African American women. Overall the Top 12 earned $196.9 million, which makes it the biggest aggregated weekend ever in the month of June. Ted scored a very impressive $54.4 million from 3,239 locations. That bests the first Hangover movie's $44.98 million for highest debut ever for an original R-rated comedy. Among all R-rated movies it ranks eighth all-time, and it ranks third among comedies behind The Hangover Part II and Sex and the City. Ted's success is due primarily to the strength of its broadly-appealing, completely original premise: what's not to like about a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear hanging out with Mark Wahlberg? It didn't hurt that this felt like a logical transition to the big screen for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, and previews maintained the general humor of that show while clearly bringing something new to the table.
It's also worth pointing out the importance of a great release date. Originally, Ted was scheduled for July 13, which was sandwiched directly in between The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. When G.I. Joe: Retaliation was bumped to next March, Universal immediately moved Ted up two weeks to June 29. As a result, Ted came out at a time when animated movies had ruled the box office for three-straight weeks, and when two R-rated comedies (The Dictator and That's My Boy) had already failed to deliver this Summer. This turned out to be the perfect time for a raunchy crowd-pleasing comedy like Ted, and kudos to Universal for figuring this out.
According to Universal's exit polling, Ted's audience skewed male (56 percent) and younger (52 percent were 30 years of age and under). They awarded the movie a very good "A-" CinemaScore, which implies that strong word-of-mouth should help Ted play well for at least the next month or so. Magic Mike had to settle for second place behind Ted, though its $39.1 million was a very impressive tally indeed. It's the third Channing Tatum movie this year to open north of $36 million, and if estimates hold it will become director Steven Soderbergh's highest opening ever ahead of Ocean's Twelve ($39.15 million). All that being said, it earned just shy of 50 percent of its weekend box office from Friday showings, which makes it one of the most front-loaded debuts ever. Add in an underwhelming "B" CinemaScore, and there's a good chance that Tatum doesn't get his third $100 million movie of 2012.
Regardless of how it holds up, though, this is a great initial showing for the somewhat artsy male stripper movie, and credit belongs to Warner Bros. for selling the hell out of it. The aspirational plot, which can be a bit of a downer, was largely ignored in favor of glimpses at stripping scenes involving an assortment of outrageous outfits. Instead of portraying the dark, seedy side of the movie's world, the ads focused on the fun and excitement (not to mention plenty of abs). Late in the game, as the movie was building steam, Warner Bros. ramped up the "event movie" signals to try and get large groups of women to ditch their boyfriends and head to the movies. As expected, the men didn't really come along: the audience was 73 percent women, and 57 percent under the age of 35.
In third place, Brave fell 49 percent to $34.1 million. That second weekend ranks fifth all-time among Pixar movies, though the decline is a bit on the high side. Through 10 days, the movie has earned $131.8 million, which is noticeably up from last Summer's Cars 2 ($117.2 million), and it's definitely still on target for a final tally north of $200 million. Madea's Witness Protection took fourth place with $25.4 million opening. That's lower than early Madea efforts Madea Goes to Jail ($41.03 million) and Madea's Family Reunion ($30.03 million), though it does rank fourth all-time among Tyler Perry movies. Perry's brand clearly remains intact despite some recent duds, and it helped that this movie broadened its audience a bit with the inclusion of Eugene Levy and Denise Richards (it was 70 percent African American, as opposed to a Perry-standard closer to 80 percent). The audience was made up primarily of older women (69 percent female, 69 percent over the age of 25), and they awarded the movie an "A-" CinemaScore. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted rounded out the Top Five with $11.84 million, which brings its total to $180.04 million. That's ever-so-slightly above the last Madagascar's final total ($180.01 million), and Madagascar 3 has enough steam left in it that it will ultimately pass the first movie's $193.6 million to become the highest-grossing entry in the series.
In its second outing, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter plummeted 63 percent to $6 million. It's now made just $29.04 million through 10 days, and it probably won't end up too much higher than $40 million or so by the end of its run. Moonrise Kingdom expanded nationwide to 854 locations this weekend and grossed $4.93 million. It has now made $18.47 million, and it's on pace to become writer-director Wes Anderson's second-highest-grossing movie behind The Royal Tenenbaums ($52.4 million).