Say Hello to Seth MacFarlane, Bankable Box Office Star

So Seth MacFarlane made a risky move this weekend, leaving the cozy warmth of his Family Guy nest to venture out with his first movie, Ted. And everything went well — really, really well. As EW reports, Ted pulled in “$54.1 million … the third-best debut ever for an R rated comedy behind the openings of The Hangover Part II ($85.9 million) and Sex and the City ($57 million) … and the best debut ever for an original comedic storyline.” The “best debut ever for an original comedic storyline”?! Clearly the built-in Family Guy audience mitigates that little factoid somewhat, but still — you wouldn’t be able to fault MacFarlane for trotting that one out during dinner-table conversations for the next few years. Now, with positive reviews behind it (this one reviewer liked it so much, he wrote his piece from the point of a view of a bear) and A- Cinemascore grade, Ted could barrel toward a $200 million haul, in EW’s estimation.

Major studios have presumably been jostling each other for a while now to land the first flick from MacFarlane. Now Ted‘s stacking dollars, and Hollywood’s embrace of the TV chieftain should continue apace. The thing is, with Ted — and its animation elements and dirty jokes and well-intentioned buffoonery — MacFarlane was still staying, somewhat, within his wheelhouse: animation. Now that it’s poised to be a breakout hit, though, MacFarlane could probably decide to set his next movie in the underground dog-fighting world of southwestern Basra and still get funding.

Oh, and while we’re talking box office, it should be noted that Magic Mike did pretty damn well itself, overachieving most expectations to pull in about $39 million. So, in conclusion: Movies about male strippers loosely based on Channing Tatum’s life story and sentient teddy bears that like to party were big hits this weekend, and hey, guess what, sometimes good, weird movies can still make lots of money.

Filed Under: Mark Wahlberg, Seth Macfarlane, Ted

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Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

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