Foul-mouthed "Ted" takes U.S. movie box office crown
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedy "Ted," starring a foul-mouthed teddy bear, won the battle at movie box offices over the weekend, taking in a surprising $54.1 million (34.4 million pounds) in the United States and Canada and beating Channing Tatum's steamy role as a male stripper in "Magic Mike."
"Ted," the first feature film directed by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and MacFarlane as the voice of the teddy bear who comes to life for his owner and swears, smokes pot and makes lewd jokes.
"Ted" set a record as the highest-grossing opening weekend for an original, non-sequel R-rated comedy in North America, topping 2009's "The Hangover," which debuted just under $50 million.
Media Rights Capital produced "Ted" for about $50 million and sold the film to Universal, which had projected opening weekend sales of between $26 million and $36 million.
"Magic Mike" danced into second place, scoring $39.2 million in domestic theatres. The adult comedy was inspired by Tatum's real-life experience as a stripper when he was 18, and also stars Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer.
"We're thrilled with the results. Steven Soderberg hit one out of the park. He made it for $7 million and it's a phenomenal result," said Dan Fellman, president of theatrical distribution for Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.
Initial estimates projected the film's opening weekend in a range around $20 million, which it generated on the opening night alone.
"The movie certainly benefited from viral exposure, and the women that showed up on Friday night - a lot showed up in groups - it was very similar to how "Sex and The City" performed in its opening weekend," said Fellman.
Last week's No. 1 movie, Walt Disney Co's animated fairy tale "Brave," fell to third place with $34 million at U.S. and Canadian theatres. The 3D, Disney/Pixar film about a strong-headed Scottish princess has racked up $158.5 million globally since its debut a week ago.
SPIDER-MAN STARS OVERSEAS
Overseas, one of summer's highly anticipated blockbusters, "The Amazing Spider-Man," generated $50.2 million in 13 countries across Asia this weekend, ahead of its July 3 wide release in the U.S. and expansion internationally.
Animated sequel "Ice Age: Continental Drift" also stormed into the international theatres, opening with $78 million from ticket sales in 34 countries. The fourth instalment of the films about the adventures of prehistoric animals will reach domestic theatres July 13.
Comedian Tyler Perry's new film, "Madea's Witness Protection," took the fourth spot on this weekend's domestic chart with $26.4 million at theatres.
It is Perry's seventh movie playing the spunky Aunt Madea and tells of a Wall Street investment banker caught in a Ponzi scheme who relocates to Madea's home. It is the first one in the franchise released during Hollywood's busy summer season.
"We're so used to Tyler's audience being so loyal. He's got such a draw, that's why we released it in summer," said David Spitz, executive vice president and general sales manager at Lions Gate Films.
"This is Tyler's fourth-highest opening weekend, and it just shows how loyal his audience is in a very congested marketplace."
But theatres crowded with new movies getting a jumpstart on the U.S. July 4 holiday also had cash registers ringing. Ticket racker boxofficemojo.com said this weekend is the highest grossing weekend in June ever, with four of the top films making more than $25 million.
New drama "People Like Us" earned $4.3 million domestically, ranking in 10th place. The movie stars Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer in a story about a salesman who discovers a sister he didn't know he had. Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios produced the $15 million film, which was distributed by Disney.
Time Warner Inc unit Warner Bros. released "Magic Mike." Lions Gate Entertainment Corp distributed "Madea's Witness Protection." "Ice Age: Continental Drift" was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.
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