Photo: BEImages/Matt Baron.
With its bulging pecs, virtuoso dance numbers, and inflated bravado, the only thing small about Magic Mike was its budget. Made for a paltry $7 million, the Steven Soderbergh-directed paean to male strippers was 2012's breakout hit, earning over $160 million worldwide. You know what that means: A sequel was inevitable. Now, with the cast finally rounded into form, and plot details fully fleshed out, it's time to look ahead to the return of Michael Lane and his merry band of show boys. Here's what we know about Magic Mike XXL.
The Cast: Returning will be Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias, and, of course, breakout star Joe Manganiello. Donald Glover and Michael Strahan will also make appearances, while Elizabeth Banks, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith, Andie MacDowell round out the women. That means Olivia Munn, Alex Pettyfer, and newly-minted A-lister Matthew McConaughey will not be returning.
The Plot: In a May interview with GQ, Tatum confirmed that the sequel would be more in the vein of a traditional road trip movie, based on the sojourns he would take in his past life as a stripper. "I want to do the story of when I'm in a dark U-Haul with a bunch of these guys and we're doing drugs driving up to the stripper convention," Tatum said at the time. Warner Bros. has since revealed that the film will pick up three years after Mike left the stage, and will focus on his reunion with the Kings of Tampa for "one last blowout performance in Myrtle Beach. On the road to their final show, with whistle stops in Jacksonville and Savannah to renew old acquaintances and make new friends, Mike and the guys learn some new moves and shake off the past in surprising ways."
The Director: While Steven Soderbergh will not be helming the sequel, he's left it in the very capable hands of Gregory Jacobs, who's been working closely with Soderbergh for two decades. And, in case Jacobs gets a case of the first-film jitters, his mentor will be close by: Soderbergh is returning as cinematographer, editor, and executive producer.
Release Date: Principal photography began just yesterday, with the film expected to be released on July 1, 2015. Happy fourth of July indeed.