By Grady Smith
June 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM EDT
  • Movie

That’s a lot of dollar bills stuffed into Channing Tatum’s thong!

Magic Mike pulled in a tremendous $2.1 million from 1,100 theaters during midnight showings last night, and it now seems that the Steven Soderbergh-directed stripper movie is headed for strong business. (I have predicted $34 million, on the high end of prognosticators.)

A few weeks ago, Snow White and the Huntsman took in $1.4 million at midnight on it’s way to a $56.2 million debut. If we apply the same formula (midnight gross x 40) to Magic Mike, that means that Tatum and company are headed to an $82 million debut — but that’s almost certainly overestimating.

Magic Mike will likely see remarkably frontloaded business, as it has been effectively showcased as an “event film.” Large groups of women (and gay men) have excitedly been planning to see the film for weeks, and the naughty nature of Magic Mike lends itself to group viewing. These devoted groups will rush out to the theater this weekend, giving Mike major up-front business. (And yes, he will reciprocate.) In this sense, a frontloaded film like Prometheus, which earned $3.6 million at midnight on the way to a $51.1 million debut, may prove a more apt comparison. We’ll see.

But Magic Mike wasn’t alone in the midnight box office race — Universal’s comedy Ted grossed a stellar $2.6 million at midnight from 1,095 theaters as well. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s raunchy R-rated flick, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, now looks like a surefire hit destined for a robust opening, perhaps in the $40 million range.

Thus, I’m thinking that the well-reviewed R-rated duo look increasingly likely to take out Pixar’s powerhouse Brave over the next three days, but we’ll have to find out how high they actually climb. Stay tuned to EW for full weekend box office coverage, and follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute box office updates.

  • Movie
  • R
release date
  • 06/29/12
  • 112 minutes
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