Have you seen Magic Mike, and if so, what did you think? I was looking forward to this movie like nobody’s business, and finally got a chance to rent it the other night. I have to say that it wasn’t what I expected. The docu-style, handheld camera work came as a surprise, as did the long single-camera takes. I wasn’t expecting the romance to be such a big part of it. There was less Joe Mangianello than I expected. And I didn’t expect to be so blown away by Channing Tatum’s dance moves. Overall, I liked it more – or maybe just in a different way – than I anticipated.
Then I read a quote from Steven Soderbergh about why he thought it was so popular. I quote:
“A few months earlier, these 'Fifty Shades of Grey' books came out. Suddenly, the whole issue of female fantasy was part of the cultural conversation [and] we were able to draft off of that. It really helped us enormously."
And I got a little irritated. Is he saying that “female fantasy” was never part of the “cultural conversation” before? Hasn’t he noticed how we women appreciate a sexy movie star of the opposite sex just like the men do? Have women not been attending Chippendale’s shows? Was The Full Monty not a massive hit? Has he never been to a bachelorette party? Hasn’t he heard of the existence of erotica written or filmed for women? Hasn’t he seen my Facebook feed?
Is it really news, in 2013, that women appreciate male bodies and feel free to express that? What the heck? I’m glad he made millions of dollars by somehow accidentally exploiting this fact, but I think it’s a little weird it took him by surprise.
Steven, you’re a great director, but hello. Female fantasy was around long before Fifty Shades of Grey. It was part of the “cultural conversation” long before that (Anais Nin? Anne Rice? Any random beefcake fireman calendar? Romance novels, which celebrate female fantasy, have accounted for about half of all books sold for quite some time. We’ve been enjoying our fantasies all along, thank you very much. We don’t need a “cultural conversation” to give us permission to watch a movie filled with sexy male eye-candy. In my opinion, Magic Mike would have been just as successful if Christian had never met Anastasia.
But what do you think? Did Fifty Shades help Magic Mike at the box office?