How Warner Bros. has sold a love story about dancing that’s dirty
Channing Tatum returns for another outing as exotic dancer Mike Lane in Magic Mike’s Last Dance, the second sequel to 2012’s Magic Mike. Directed once again by Steven Soderbergh (who sat out the earlier Magic Mike XXL), the story finds Mike having hit rough times and needing to once more take to the stage to try and get back on his feet.
Salma Hayek Pinault costars as Maxandra Mendoza, a woman who is interested in Mike both professionally and romantically but who has an agenda of her own.
The movie arrives this weekend in theaters after initially being planned for an HBO Max-exclusive release. It also comes as the “Magic Mike Live” show has hit Las Vegas, so the brand is hot and so are the guys so let’s dive in and see how it’s been sold.
announcement and casting
Warner Bros. and Tatum announced the movie more or less out of the blue in late November 2021, catching the internet by surprise and immediately generating tons of excitement.
Thandie Newton was reported to be interested in joining the movie at the end of 2021 but stepped away and was replaced by Hayek Pinault in April 2022.
The topic of the movie came up repeatedly in the first few months of 2022 as Tatum was doing publicity and press for other projects, including his directorial debut Dog and the romantic adventure comedy The Lost City.
An interview with Soderbergh in July of last year had him talking about the planned HBO Max release and saying this is likely the final film in the series though he also kept his options open by saying there were still stories he and Tatum may want to tell in this world.
In September, 2022 the studio announced a new release date for the film and shifted that release to being theatrical instead of going directly to HBO Max. A month or so later Tatum shared a first look photo that offered exactly what the audience was expecting.
the marketing campaign
The official trailer (8.5m YouTube plays) marked the beginning of the marketing campaign when it was released in mid-November of last year. As it opens Mike and Maxandra are meeting for the first time as he shows her he’s much more than just a bartender. Soon the two are off to London where he is going to coordinate a new show that’s all about passion and, in her words, making women feel as if anything is possible. There’s drama and romance and lots of dancing in and around water, making the movie look as ridiculous and intense as anything you’ve seen.
Another exclusive image accompanied an Empire interview with Soderbergh about the epic final dance sequence of the movie and the challenges he encountered attempting to make each dance routine unique.
The two posters released at the end of December both promise this movie is “The Final Tease” as they show different photos of Mike and Maxandra in a passionate embrace.
Another interview with Soderbergh had the director explaining how the movie wasn’t planned but evolved in part out of the work he and others were doing for a now-scrapped live stage show.
Hayek Pinault talked about the physical demands of her role, specifically the scene in which she gets a private lap dance from Tatum while also joking about how tough it was to watch a bunch of hot male dancers for hours on end while filming. She hit similar topics a bit later when she appeared on “Kimmel.”
There was finally a proper profile of Tatum in mid-January that covered the development of this movie as well as lots more about his career, which has taken some notable detours over the years but which he himself has worked to get back on track.
A short featurette has the stars and others talking about the fun of returning to the world of Magic Mike as well as what audiences can expect from moving the story to London.
That was followed by a shorter trailer/extended TV spot that captures the key moments we’ve already seen but in a more concise way. Other TV spots cut that message down to the more traditional 30 seconds as well.
Everyone came out for the red carpet premiere at the end of January, an event that included a dance team and more.
Another featurette was released just a few days ago that focused on how this movie fits into the “legacy” of the series to date.
In one of the final interviews with Soderbergh he talked about some of the same things he’d already covered while also refusing to go into details about why Thandie Newton dropped out of the project. In another he explained how a full theatrical release came about after the initial plans for the movie to go to HBO Max.
Meanwhile the two lead actors appeared on “GMA” to talk about the dancing, the romance and everything else.
Look, it’s a movie about Channing Tatum and other hot guys doing sexy dances and being very confident while doing so along with Hayek Pinault getting what she wants, which includes the things just mentioned. That’s what the campaign needed to communicate and that’s what it does communicate.
Coming out on Super Bowl Weekend is one reason for the relatively modest projections of $10 million give or take, as is the fact that it’s going up against the re-release of Titanic, something Paramount is doing to mark the movie’s 25th anniversary and to capitalize on the Avatar 2-powered resurgence in James Cameron.