At the intersection of art and commerce our second installment veers away from last weeks Oscar darling, The Artist, to a raunchier, fuzzier side of Hollywood. This column seeks to highlight films that succeeded in artistic testament as well as financial and strategic performance. This week, Ted is at the Crossroads.
When you’re a Hollywood intern (as I recently was) you often times have access to scripts being shopped around town before they actually get made. One such script I had the privilege to take a look at was Ted. From my first read, I knew I held something special in my hands.
In contrast to last week’s Artist, Ted wasn’t an indie flick banking on word of mouth to get out there. Fortunately we’re only evaluating it on whether 1. the movie is good and 2. if it made suitcases full of cash. And suitcases full of cash would be an appropriate visual. Ted,an R rated comedy mind you, took in $549 MILLION dollars at the box office. That’s about 80 million more than the new R rated comedy standard, The Hangover.
Opening in a wide release, a solid marketing campaign and good word of mouth helped Ted rake in $54 million dollars in it’s opening weekend. This is 4M more than it’s production budget of 50M. In fact it only took the movie another 4 days, WEEKDAYS I might add, to make another 33 million dollars bringing the total to $87.7M. This is important because the marketing budget was $35M for a budgetary grand total of $85M. Every penny beyond this point is gravy for the writers, directors, actors and studio. In one week Ted made it’s entire budget back.
But that’s not the full story. The movie continued raking in cash for MONTHS all the way through October. This film is also one of the few American comedies that performed well overseas. Humor is all about timing and context, because of this American humor doesn’t typically translate well into other cultures. The simple story of a Teddy Bear that comes to life, paired with lots of visual comedy helped connect with foreign viewers.
So yea, it made some good coin, but what did audiences think? I mean Paul Blart: Mall Cop made money, Twilight made money and those movies are terrible with a capital T. Terrible.
Tomato Meter: 68% Fresh, 80% Audience reaction
Metacritic: 62/100 Critic review, 6.9/10 User review.
These aren’t the worlds best numbers. But they damn sure aren’t bad either. Would I rank it however as one of the better comedies of, say, the last 5 years? YES.
Production Budget – $50,000,000
Marketing Budget – $35,000,000
Total Gross – $549,218,568
ROI – 5.46
Rotten Tomatoes – 68%
IMDB – 7.1
Metacritic – 62/100
Awards: Peoples Choice Award – Best Comedy, MTV Movie Award – Best Onscreen Duo, Empire Awards UK – Best Comedy, ASCAP Awards – Top Box Office Films. And it was nominated for a bunch of other awards from Awards ceremonies you’ve never heard of but are probably relevant in some way shape or form.
Ted didn’t change any lives and in 20 years it’s probably not going to be on many people radar, but for the time, in 2012, TED reigned supreme. It was an accessible comedy that translated across borders. It was entertaining, it was funny and equally important, it made a boatload of money.
NOW, the important question. Whenever a movie like this performs well at the BO, Hollywood execs start to talk franchise. Would you like to see a Ted sequel? Let us know in the comments.