Shaky turnout for Ted 2

Los Angeles - Seth MacFarlane's sophomoric brand of comedy is still going strong on television, but moviegoers seem to have tired of it: Universal's Ted 2 debuted to an underwhelming US$32.9 million across 3,442 theatres, roughly 50 per cent less than most analysts had expected the pot-smoking teddy bear comedy would bring in during its opening weekend.

The shaky turnout - the first Ted arrived to ticket sales of US$54.4 million in 2012 - comes a year after director and star MacFarlane's raunchy A Million Ways To Die In The West fell flat in theatres.

The R-rated Ted 2 (right), which features MacFarlane voicing the title character and stars Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried, cost Media Rights Capital and Universal Pictures about US$85 million (S$115 million) to make.

To explain the Ted 2 results, Universal pointed to strong holdover competition from its own Jurassic World, which was again No. 1 in North America. Jurassic World racked up US$54.2 million on its third weekend, keeping Disney/Pixar's Inside Out at No. 2 with US$52.1 million in its second week and a cumulative total of US$184.9 million.

Jurassic World is now the fifth highest-grossing domestic release ever with US$500 million in stateside receipts, behind The Dark Knight's US$534.8 million haul.

It marks the third consecutive weekend that the dinosaur thriller has topped North American charts and the fastest that a film has ever crossed the US$500-million mark.

Worldwide, the movie has now taken in an astounding US$1.2 billion and it has not even opened yet in Japan, a major market.

Universal called the Ted 2 ticket sales "very healthy" nonetheless, noting that the sequel took in an additional US$20.3 million overseas.

Perhaps the plot, in which Ted tries to convince a court that he is a person so he can have a child with his wife, was too downbeat, or the post Deflate-gate Tom Brady cameo proved more polarising than tantalising to audiences.

"This year, a lot of sequels are a bit more challenged, with the possible exception of some of the ones that we've had," said Mr Nicholas Carpou, head of domestic distribution at Universal, noting that Universal's Furious 7 and Pitch Perfect 2 bucked that trend.

Whatever the case, it is a disappointment considering that many box-office sages had predicted Ted 2 would be the summer's biggest comedy.

Opening beside Ted 2, the PG-rated Max (Warner Bros and Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer) took in US$12.2 million, on the high end of expectations. It is about a military working dog that returns to civilian life and cost about US$20 million to make.

Reuters, New York Times

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2015, with the headline 'Shaky turnout for Ted 2'. Print Edition | Subscribe