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Though Magic Mike is getting a lot of the attention and the hottest advance ticket sales, it's looking like a real horse race between two R-rated movies at the box office this weekend. Both Magic Mike and the Seth MacFarlane-Mark Wahlberg comedy Ted debuted to surprisingly strong midnight screenings last night, each taking in around $2 million, with Ted slightly further ahead at $2.625. That's nothing compared to something like $20 million midnight showings for The Avengers, but as R-rated films that aren't common for summer blockbusters, Ted and Magic Mike are both already off to great starts. As pointed out by Deadline, Ted cost just $50 million-- not much considering the special effects to create the teddy bear-- and Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum teamed up to finance Magic Mike to the tune of just $16 million. Both films are practically guaranteed to be profitable at this point.

Ted had been predicted to pull ahead of Magic Mike, given the latter's appeal to an almost exclusively female audience, and it might even be able to unseat last weekend's champion Brave, which is pretty much the only choice for anyone under the age of 10. But leading into the Fourth of July week, where The Amazing Spider-Man is expected to absolutely dominate, this should be a surprisingly strong weekend, and great news for grown-up audiences who so often feel alienated by summer movie season. As you can read in our review, Magic Mike does in fact include the stripper hijinks it promises, but it's also a serious and melancholy drama; and Ted, silly as it looks, is incredibly funny too. It's a great weekend to go to the movies-- get out there and enjoy it. We'll have a full box office report to you when the weekend is through.

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