The third installment in the Magic Mike series danced to the top of the box office this weekend with a James Cameron double-header, Avatar: The Way of Water and Titanic (yes, the Titanic). . appear close behind.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance grossed $8.2 million in its first weekend in North American theaters, studio estimates Sunday. Cameron’s “Avatar” sequel grossed another $6.9 million, while the 25th anniversary re-release of “Titanic” grossed $6.4 million from Friday through Sunday.
North American moviegoing typically grinds to a halt on Super Bowl Sunday, and studios are reacting strategically, often releasing films more geared towards women. Star Channing Tatum also had several films that did well in the Super Bowl/Valentine’s Day corridor, including The Vow, Dear John, and Dog.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance, which put Steven Soderbergh back in the director’s chair, was given a modest theatrical release in just 1,500 theaters. Starring Tatum as the lovable male stripper and introducing a wealthy benefactor played by Salma Hayek, the film should go straight to HBO Max. But as with the House Party reboot a few weeks ago, Warner Bros. flipped the switch and chose to go to the theater with both first, to refocus on the theatrical experience and bring fresh fare to exhibitors.
The Magic Mike franchise was a profitable one. In 2012, the first film opened in nearly 4,000 theaters for approximately US$39.1 million and is on track to gross US$167.3 million worldwide (versus a production budget of US$7 million). The second, “XXL”, was made for a little more ($14 million) and grossed a little less ($122.5 million) in 2015. The films’ success also spawned a stage show in Las Vegas, which has since expanded to Miami and London – in the lead up to the release of Last Dance, ticket sales for Magic Mike Live also surged.
“Avatar: The Way of Water” added $25.8 million worldwide in its ninth weekend, taking its total gross to $2.2 billion and maintaining its place as the fourth-biggest film release of all time, but with “Titanic” unlocks.
Titanic was re-released in 2,464 domestic locations this weekend, with Paramount handling the North American release and The Walt Disney Co. handling the international launch in 51 territories. Overall, the film earned $22.3 million worldwide, with $2 million from IMAX screens. Titanic has now earned an estimated $2.2 billion worldwide and retained its title as the third-biggest film of all time.
In fourth place was Super Bowl-themed “80 for Brady” with $6 million in its second weekend. The Paramount release has grossed nearly $25 million to date.