"Magic Mike," the Channing Tatum movie about guys taking it off, is doing some taking off of its own.
Warner Bros.' male stripper movie is the top-selling film at online ticketing site Fandango, social media mentions are surging and box office analysts are revising their tracking upwards.
Pre-sales for "Magic Mike" represented 53 percent of all movie ticket sales at Fandango as of Wednesday, far outstripping, ahem, those of reigning box-office champ "Brave," which was at 17 percent.
“The top two performers, ‘Magic Mike’ and “Brave,” show the effect of girl power at the box office," Fandango Editor-in-Chief Chuck Walton told TheWrap. "‘Brave’ for young girls, and ‘Mike’ for the ladies."
"Magic Mike" was conceived and produced — for just $7 million — by Tatum, who also stars in the film, which is based on his experience as a dancer in an all-male exotic revue. Steven Soderbergh directs and Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer and Olivia Munn co-star.
The movie is becoming something of a cultural phenomenon — "Now it's our turn to objectify" tweeted one female fan — causing some observers to suggest it could be a smaller-scale version of another summer movie from Warner Bros., 2008's R-rated and very female-friendly "Sex n the City." That film opened to $57 million over four days, and went on to make $152 million domestically and $418 million worldwide.
No one is predicting "Sex and the City" numbers for "Magic Mike." The latest tracking puts its opening at around $25 million for the weekend, but there seems to be some of the same social heat gathering.
In a survey conducted Tuesday on the site with more than 1,000 respondents, Fandango found that 87 percent said they were planning to see it with a group of women, 82 percent plan to see it on opening weekend and 68 percent are planning to attend some kind of get-together before or after the movie.
The tracking is trending sharply upward.
"We had it in the high teens last week but it's definitely moving beyond that now," Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told TheWrap. "We have it somewhere between $20 million and $25 million, but it could even take off from there."
It's a crowded box-office weekend. In addition to "Magic Mike," Universal's teddy bear comedy "Ted," DreamWorks' "People Like Us" and Lionsgate's "Tyler Perry's Witness Protection" are all opening against the current champ, Pixar's "Brave."
"Magic Mike" is gaining steam on social media. It added nearly 10,000 likes on Facebook on Tuesday according to Boxoffice.com, upping its total to more than 300,000. Its mentions on Twitter were up to 22,443, and it was trending Wednesday morning.
Facebook and Twitter mentions don't always translate into box office, but they do indicate awareness and the tweets were running favorable by a 6-1 margin.
"Dear God," said one, "I'm not asking much but can you make Magic Mike in Imax-3D?"