A few years back, when Channing Tatum's early days as a stripper in a Florida male revue were first revealed, snickers abounded. "It's nothing I'm ashamed of, and I'm not proud of it, either," Tatum explained about his days booty-popping and thong-dropping; a nation responded with a dismissive hand pat and a smug, "Sure thing, Channing. Sure thing." This week, though, sees the unlikely triumph at the end of Tatum's stripper saga. Magic Mike, the movie he developed with director Steven Soderbergh about his nudie-bar days, is landing in theaters today with love both from the critics (Rotten Tomatoes: 82 percent) and the masses, who are projected to push the $7 million production to an opening in the $25 million range.
So here's the question: Knowing that Hollywood is nothing but a lover of the tried-and-true, wouldn't it now make sense to repeat the Magic Mike formula? A bankable, likable star + their unlikely, sort-of-crappy pre-fame job + an effectively dramatic script about striving to make it out = Hollywood gold. Wouldn't you like to see Hugh Jackman revisit his days as a children’s birthday party clown? Or Jon Hamm return to his past as a Skinemax set dresser? In hopes of getting this Magic Mike mini-genre jump-started, Grantland has taken the liberty of visualizing the plots for five possible iterations. Ayo, big-time Hollywood producers? These are on the house.