No one would have guessed that in the early years of the 21st century a teddy bear, crude and unforgiving, would claim the top of the box office on the Fourth of July weekend, 2012. Seth MacFarlane also easily out-raunched Steven Soderbergh’s latest.

If Channing Tatum appeared somewhat talented this weekend, I’d say it was the brilliance of the casting director for Magic Mike, which fell second place. Tatum was of course essentially playing himself, actually.

There’s an odd sense of irony in Tatum basically selling his body to succeed in Hollywood.

And for a man who likes to push boundaries, or come off Sex, Lies, and Videotape edgy, Soderbergh sure abandoned the goal with typical spy story Haywire. He’ll have to work harder to regain the trust of his fans. It is of course rather strange that moviegoers haven’t accepted Magic Mike while critics rave about it.

Critics and audiences have been so polarized lately, we should begin to question the accuracy of a critic. And filmmakers should probably begin to prefer the disapproval of critics. If this were the case, then MacFarlane would be mostly pleased. Ted received the opposite: mostly ecstatic fans, and appalled critics.

Madea only made half her production budget, so Tyler Perry may not get to dress up as a woman again, but we remain hopeful. I’m not a filmmaker if that isn’t some classy, aesthetically challenging work that pushes boundaries and expands horizons, sure to be studied for years to come.

People Like Us meanwhile opened so minimally, it’s astounding how much money it’s made, however enthusiastic an actor Chris Pine can be. These Nicholas Sparks soap operas really start to blend together, if not in thematic material, at least in title. Women must be so desperate for a truly interesting romance these days. Don’t worry. Ted should suffice, for now.


Weekend Results

1.) Ted (Universal): Opened with $54.1 million.

2.) Magic Mike (Warner Bros.): Opened with $39.1 million.

3.) Brave (Buena Vista): Second Weekend, with $34 million.

4.) Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection (Lionsgate): Opened With $26.3 million.

5.) Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (Paramount): Fourth Weekend, with $11.8 million.


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