Then the lights went down, and Channing Tatum got naked.
Clearview Chelsea Cinemas, a cineplex in Manhattan, had become a makeshift gay bar. It was Friday night, and four theaters were showing “Magic Mike,” the Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh’s new movie about a troupe of male strippers. The pouty-lipped Mr. Tatum, who has been open about his past as a stripper, plays the title character.
“It’s a fun night out with a bunch of gay friends to go see a movie about hot boys,” said Aaron Rhyne, 32, a theatrical projection designer who saw the film with about 10 friends. “We’ve been throwing the trailer around, laughing about it.”
Mr. Rhyne wasn’t alone in organizing a group. While the scene at Chelsea Cinemas may have been more raucous than most, interviews around the country indicated that gay men have been flocking to “Magic Mike” in numbers not seen since the release of “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005. But unlike that film, about two cowboys in love, there’s nothing explicitly gay about “Magic Mike.” Unless you count muscled men thrusting their pelvises without pants. That was enough for Bill Venne and his friends.
“Let’s be honest: it’s men taking their clothes off,” said Mr. Venne, 49, who lives in Minneapolis and saw “Magic Mike” on Sunday with 16 gay men and one straight woman. “It’s the kind of thing you want to see, but not by yourself. A middle-aged gay guy in the audience might as well be wearing a trench coat.”
Released by Warner Brothers at a cost of $7 million, “Magic Mike” finished second at the box office over the weekend, taking in about $39.2 million, a stronger-than-expected showing. (“Ted,” Seth MacFarlane’s film about a crass teddy bear who comes to life, was in
This article originally appeared on: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/05/movies/magic-mike-with-channing-tatum-draws-gay-men.html