Smashing records and setting off early holiday fireworks, Seth MacFarlane's Ted debuted to a massive $54.1 million at the domestic box office -- the best showing ever for an original R-rated comedy.
It wasn't the only R-rated winner of the weekend. Steven Soderbergh's male striptease dramedy Magic Mike likewise overperformed in a big way, grossing $39.2 million. It's the first time in history that two R-rated movies opened north of $20 million on the same weekend.
Among other new entries, Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection turned in a strong $26.4 million opening for Lionsgate. The trio of films are now set up nicely for July 4th week.
The international box office also generated big headlines as 20th Century Fox's Ice Age: Continental Drift opened to a whopping $78 million from 34 markets, while Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man earned $50.2 million from only 13 markets. Amazing Spider-Man did especially well in Asia.
In North America, Universal's Ted easily bested the The Hangover, which scored the top opening of all time for a non-sequel R-rated comedy when debuting to $45 million in 2009. Ted is a victory for all involved, including for Universal, MacFarlane and stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis (Ted marks Wahlberg's second biggest opening after Planet of the Apes).
"I also want to pay tribute to the incredible marketing campaign that began generating interest from a very early stage," Universal president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco said.
Ted is a feather in the cap of Media Rights Capital, which packaged and fully financed the $50 million film before teaming with Universal. MRC produced Ted with Universal and Scott Stuber.
Ted received an A- CinemaScore and skewed male (56 percent), though more females turned out that expected. About 48 percent of the audience was younger than 30.
Magic Mike -- confirming Channing Tatum's rising star status and loosely based on his early days as a stripper -- also has plenty of reason to celebrate. The Warner Bros. pic generated intense interest among females, who made up a whopping 73 percent of the audience. Women of all ages turned out, with 43 percent of the audience over the age of 35.
The Magic Mike cast also includes Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer. Warners acquired North American rights to the film for $7 million.
"This is a win-win for all of us, and Steven Soderbergh hit it out of the park," Warners president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said.
Magic Mike earned a B CinemaScore.
Coming in No. 3 at the domestic box office was Brave, which fell 48.7 percent in its second frame -- some box-office observers say moms were otherwise occupied with Magic Mike -- to $34 million for a 10-day domestic cume of $131.7 million.
Brave, from Disney and Pixar, also earned $6.7 million from 11 territories overseas, putting the film's early worldwide total at a pleasing $158.7 million.
Witness Protection, marking the first time Lionsgate has opened a Perry film in the summer, received an A- CinemaScore and did as well, if not better, than previous Madea films and is Perry's fourth-highest opening (he's made a total of 13 movies).
Lionsgate distribution chief David Spitz said Witness Protection crossed over more than other Perry films thanks to cast additions Eugene Levy and Denise Richards. African Americans usually make up 80 percent of Perry's audience; this time, African Americans made up 70 percent. Females fueled the film, making up nearly 70 percent of those buying tickets.
The soft entry of the weekend was DreamWorks and Disney's People Like Us, directed by Alex Kurtzman and starring Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer. The adult drama, earning a B+ CinemaScore, debuted to a meek $4.3 million.
At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight's critically acclaimed Sundance favorite Beasts of the Southern Wild opened to $169,236 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a strong per-location average of $42,309.
Among holdovers, Focus Features' Moonrise Kingdom continued to shine as it expanded to 854 locations. The specialty film from director Wes Anderson came in No. 8 for the weekend, grossing $4.8 million for a domestic cume of $18.3 million.
Below are full weekend results for the domestic box office:
Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume
1. Ted, 1/3,239, Universal/MRC, $54.1 million.
2. Magic Mike, 1/2,930, Warner Bros., $39.2 million.
3. Brave, 2/4,164, Disney/Pixar, $34 million, $131.7 million.
4. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection, 1/2,161, $26.4 million.
5. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, 4/3,715, $11.8 million, $180 million.
6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, 2/3,100, $6 million, $29 million.
7. Prometheus, 4/1,951, $4.9 million, $118.3 million.
8. Moonrise Kingdom, 6/854, Focus Features, $4.8 million, $18.3 million.
9. Snow White and the Huntsman, 5/2,337, $4.4 million, $145.6 million.
10. People Like Us, 1/2,055, $4.3 million.