Magic Mike’s Last Dance appears to be winning Super Bowl weekend at the domestic box office with an opening in the $8 million to $10 million range. The third title in the Channing Tatum franchise is playing in 1,500 theaters — a modest number for a high-profile studio release — since it was made for streaming and not the big screen.
The box office always takes a hit because of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Hollywood studios generally avoid releasing event pics, or movies that target males.
Warner Bros. isn’t reporting numbers for Magic Mike’s Last Dance until Sunday, a practice it also employed for House Party, which likewise pivoted and opened in theaters versus on HBO Max. In the case of Last Dance, sources speculate that the studio wants to minimize comparisons to the previous films. A theatrical release puts more pressure on Tatum and director Steven Soderbergh, since box office grosses are made public, while HBO Max viewing stats are generally not.
In 2012, Soderbergh’s first Magic Mike dazzled when debuting domestically to $39.1 million from 3,920 theaters on its way to grossing a dizzying $167.3 million globally. But 2016’s Magic Mike XXL, which the filmmaker didn’t direct, opened to far less, or $12.8 million from 3,355 theaters, before topping out at just under $118 million worldwide. The notable decline could help to explain why the third film was conceived for streaming.
During the heart of the pandemic, former parent company Warner Media caused an uproar when announcing its entire 2021 slate of movies would open simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. The importance of theatrical was one of the first things Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav stressed when taking over. Like Magic Mike 3, the HBO Max-conceived House Party reboot likewise pivoted and received a theatrical release last month.
All three Magic Mike films star Tatum in the titular role. In the new movie, his character is hired by a wealthy divorcée, played by Salma Hayek, to help with a London stage production.
The other headline at the box office this weekend is the showdown between James Cameron’s two blockbusters, Avatar: The Way of Water and Titanic.
The Way of the Water is still a formidable player at the box office, while a remastered 3D version of Titanic is being released in time for Valentine’s Day. Thanks to the rerelease of Titanic, it will take a few more days, or weeks, for The Way of Water to overtake Titanic at the global box office in an embarrassment of riches for Cameron.
Titanic is presently No. 3 on the list of history’s top-grossing films behind Avengers: Endgame and Cameron’s Avatar, which sits at No. 1, not adjusted for inflation. Way of Water is currently No. 4.
Based on Friday grosses, estimates show Titanic and The Way of Water each earning anywhere from $6 million to $7 million this weekend. Paramount and Fifth Season’s Super Bowl-themed sports comedy 80 for Brady, now in its second weekend, is also in the mix.
Numbers will be updated Sunday.
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