Will ‘Finding Magic Mike’ be the most cringeworthy reality series?

Magic Mike is a long-running franchise with an interesting history. It’s a series of films known for their interesting stories & sex positivity, helping to reduce the stigma that male strippers face, and encouraging men to explore themselves in a healthy way.

But now, there’s a new development: an upcoming reality TV show called Finding Magic Mike. What’s this new series all about? Let’s go over the history of Magic Mike, then discuss the latest entry.

The original Magic Mike film

The first Magic Mike movie was released in 2012. In this movie, we follow a star stripper named “Magic Mike”, who wants to make his gig at the Xquisite Strip Club into a multitude of establishments. He gets his chance to try when he meets Adam, a nineteen-year-old college dropout, and Mike encourages Adam to perform at Xquisite.

In an interview with Flicks & Bits, Channing Tatum, who starred in the film as Mike, said the movie was inspired by his own experiences stripping at age eighteen and nineteen. Tatum talked about it for a magazine article, which Steven Soderbergh read. Soderbergh was asked if he would direct a film based on that, and said, “Absolutely,” which caught Tatum’s attention. Tatum called him, and thus, pre-production began.

The movie was written and partially produced by Reid Carolin. He discusses the process in a six-part interview with Go Into The Story. He met Tatum after writing & selling the script for Stop-Loss, and they created a production company together. After doing so, Tatum offered his experiences as a stripper for a potential fictional film. Carolin took it, Tatum got Soderbergh on board, and the rest is history.

Magic Mike was loved by critics. In addition, the movie cost $7 million to make and got over $160 million at the box office. A sequel was inevitable. But before Finding Magic Mike, there would be Magic Mike XXL.

Magic Mike XXL

Three years later, in 2015, Magic Mike XXL came to theaters. It takes place three years after the first movie: Mike has quit stripping but is lured back by a phone call. He ends up on a road trip with other strippers, headed to Myrtle Beach for the performance of their lives.

This movie was directed by Gregory Jacobs, who was Magic Mike’s assistant director, and often worked with Steven Soderbergh. Soderbergh still worked on the films, editing the flick and helping with cinematography, but Jacobs led the movie this time around.

Carolin returned to write the movie. In an interview with ScreenRant, he discussed the production of Magic Mike XXL, praising the team behind it and going through his writing process. He was a core part of the film franchise’s creation.

Magic Mike XXL wasn’t as well-received critically as its predecessor, but it made just as much money: it cost over double to make over the first movie but made over $120 million. A new movie, Magic Mike’s Last Dance, was announced in late November 2021, with Tatum, Soderbergh, and Carolin involved in production. But before we get that film, we’ll be watching Finding Magic Mike.

The new reality series

Finding Magic Mike is an HBO Max exclusive. Unlike the previous entries in the Magic Mike franchise, this is a reality TV show where ordinary guys get a chance to become sexy strippers. At least, that’s what it looks like from the trailer.

The official show’s description is the following: “Ten regular guys who have ‘lost their magic’ are put through the paces of a Magic Mike Live boot camp, baring their souls – and more – as they learn to perform sexy and daring dance routines with one being crowned the real Magic Mike. The winner will pocket a cash prize.”

All of the core team from the films are involved—Tatum, Soderbergh, Carolin, and Jacobs are the executive producers, among more than a few others. In addition to this, actors from the movies mentor the men competing for victory.

The show also comes with an “Augmented Reality” element, powered by 8thWall’s Reality Engine, a “development platform to enable WebAR experiences to immediately work across all devices.” In Finding Magic Mike’s case, you can choose dancers from the show, and have them appear where you are via your smartphone. It’s a small but interesting little detail, as 8thWall has worked with many big clients for AR purposes.

Finding Magic Mike certainly looks like an interesting TV show. We’re looking forward to seeing this new part of the Magic Mike franchise.

Finding Magic Mike releases on December 16th, 2021. Will this newest entry bring more sex positivity to the table? How will the franchise change now that the stripping is being turned into a competition? We’ll just have to see. Regardless, we can’t wait to experience this newest dose of magic.

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