Hot and Unbothered at ‘Magic Mike’

Excitement had been growing in the theater as 7 p.m. approached. Fake dollar bills with the words “In Abs We Trust” on one side and a photo of a man’s bare chest on the other were scattered across tables, perfect for throwing. By the time the “Warner Bros.” logo flashed across the screen, people were already erupting in screams.

As the first steamy dance of the film began, moviegoers didn’t hold back. One woman sitting in the center of the theater let out loud squeals in between fistfuls of popcorn, as the main characters grinded against each other. Sounds overheard included, but were not limited to:





If you’ve ever watched a “Magic Mike” movie, you know that as things heat up, it’s hard to stay silent in your seat. Fulfilling women’s wildest fantasies doesn’t happen quietly in the films, so why shouldn’t moviegoers match that energy?

Luckily for those who attended a sold-out “rowdy screening” of “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” in Brooklyn on Friday, screams and shouts were very much encouraged.

With the theater’s usual no-talking policy lifted, guests at the dine-in Alamo Drafthouse movie theater — which on Friday included not only singles and groups of friends but also couples — got to lose themselves in the enticing world of male stripping and romance.

Fake dollar bills (“In Abs We Trust”) were left around the theater within easy reach of moviegoers who might find themselves moved to generosity by a particularly exquisite gyration or contortion onscreen.Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Jane Hammer lives in Beacon, N.Y., but came into Brooklyn to see “Last Dance,” the third “Magic Mike” film, on opening weekend with her friends.

“I thought, well, if it’s going to be a two-hour train ride to get down here, it’s going to be worth it if there’s going to be hooting and hollering because I’m someone who likes to talk during movies,” Ms. Hammer, 39, said outside the theater.

It was at a screening of the first “Magic Mike” movie, in 2012, where Ms. Hammer’s friendship with Nicole Scarano was “cemented.” Ms. Scarano, 36, said the movie eventually turned into a tradition for the pair.

“That’s the first time we hung out solo and realized, Oh, we’re going to be friends,” Ms. Scarano said. A few years later, they saw the film’s sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” on opening night with hidden tiny wine bottles in tow.

“It’s just nice to have a movie for a bunch of ladies that aren’t teenagers,” Ms. Scarano added. “We get to go and have a good time and just have fun with it.”

Guests were heading inside the theater about 20 minutes before the screening began, with some already holding glasses of wine as they made their way to their seats. The crowd was mostly women of all ages and varying demographics, with a few men scattered here and there.

Waiters quickly took orders during the previews and were already serving attendees their meals for the night — pizza, burgers, cocktails. One pair had in front of them an ice bucket chilling a bottle of wine.

The audience on Friday was a mix of singles, couples and groups of friends. Who wouldn’t want to spend an evening immersed in the world of male stripping?Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Hannah Sackett, 33, strutted into the theater with her married friends, pumped to see the movie. The outing was originally going to be a double date, she said, but her date couldn’t make it.

“It’s very early, I’ve just started seeing someone, so I wouldn’t call it an official relationship,” she said. “He was busy tonight, you know — couldn’t come. So it was going to be a couple of couples, but I’m totally fine. It’s now me and my friends.”

At times, the theater fell silent, the thrill and fantasy of the moment having apparently left people too stunned to speak. In one scene later in the movie — no spoilers, I promise — Mike Lane, played by Channing Tatum, gives his newly formed group of dancers a word of advice: “You’ll have to know how to protect yourself in a zombie apocalypse of repressed desire.”

The crowd at the Alamo Drafthouse was far from being the walking dead, but for the remainder of the night, their cries filled the theater.

By the end of the movie, it was hard to tell which screams were coming from the audience featured in the movie and which from the audience watching it. “Oh my gosh! Wow,” said Evie Mackenzie, a 26-year-old who was seeing the movie with her friend.

“That was the hottest thing ever,” she said as the credits rolled and the audience threw their fake dollar bills at the screen. “I love love, and you mix that with the spicy and it’s great.”

Third Wheel explores the delights and horrors of sex, dating and relationships in 2023.

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