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Ted (film)

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Ted
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySeth MacFarlane
Screenplay by
Story bySeth MacFarlane
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyMichael Barrett
Edited byJeff Freeman
Music byWalter Murphy
Production
companies
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • June 29, 2012 (2012-06-29) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$50–65 million[1][2]
Box office$549.4 million[1]

Ted (stylized as ted) is a 2012 American fantasy comedy film directed by Seth MacFarlane (in his directorial debut) and written by MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild. The film stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, with Joel McHale and Giovanni Ribisi in supporting roles, and MacFarlane providing the voice and motion capture of the title character. The film tells the story of John Bennett, a Boston native whose childhood wish brings his teddy bear friend Ted to life. However, in adulthood, Ted and John's friendship begins to interfere with the progression of John's relationship with his girlfriend, Lori Collins.

MacFarlane's feature-length directorial debut,[3] the film is produced by Media Rights Capital and distributed by Universal Pictures. It was released in theaters in the United States on June 29, 2012, and was a box office hit, grossing $549.4 million against a $50–65 million budget. Ted was the highest-grossing comedy film of 2012, is the second highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time (behind The Hangover Part II) and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It received generally positive reviews, and successfully launched a franchise, with a sequel released in 2015 and a prequel television series in 2024.

Plot[edit]

In 1985, eight-year-old John Bennett is an only child living in Norwood, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, who wished for his new Christmas gift, a jumbo teddy bear named Ted, to come to life and become his friend. The wish coincides with a shooting star and comes true; word spreads and Ted briefly becomes a celebrity.

Twenty-seven years later, John, now 35, and Ted are still living together in an apartment in Boston with John’s girlfriend, Lori Collins, and are still staunch companions enjoying a hedonistic life. As John and Lori’s four-year anniversary approaches, Lori hopes to marry John but feels he could not move forward in life with Ted around. John is hesitant about making Ted leave, but he is persuaded to act when they find Ted at home with a group of prostitutes after their anniversary dinner.

John finds Ted his own apartment and a job at a grocery store, where Ted begins dating his co-worker, Tami-Lynn. Lori learns that John has been skipping work, using her as an excuse, to continue to spend most of his time with Ted. John and Lori are invited to a party put on by Lori's womanizing manager Rex, but Ted lures John away to a party at his apartment, with the offer to meet Sam J. Jones, the star of their favorite film, Flash Gordon. John intends to stay only for a few minutes but gets caught up in the occasion. Lori finds John there and breaks up with him. Devastated, John blames Ted for ruining his life and ends their friendship.

Ted and John later argue about their ruined friendship but manage to reconcile after a violent brawl in John's hotel room. To repair John's relationship with Lori, Ted arranges for Norah Jones, an old lover of Ted, to help by having John express his love for Lori with a song during Norah's concert which Lori and Rex attend on a date. John does an off-key rendition of Octopussy theme song, "All Time High", by Rita Coolidge and is booed offstage. Lori is touched by the attempt and returns to her apartment where Ted confesses to his role in John's relapse and offers to leave them alone forever if she talks to John, in which Lori agrees.

After Lori leaves, however, Ted is kidnapped by Donny, an obsessive stalker who idolized Ted as a child. Donny plans to make Ted into his brutish son Robert's new toy. Ted manages to reach a phone to contact John but is immediately recaptured. Realizing Ted is in danger, John and Lori locate Donny's residence and track him to rescue Ted. They chase them to Fenway Park, where John punches Robert, but Donny rips Ted entirely in half and he falls onto the field. A police car arrives, forcing Donny to flee. John and Lori gather Ted's stuffing and Ted relays his wish that John be happy with Lori before the magic in Ted fades away, making him a normal teddy bear again.

Unable to accept Ted's death, a distraught John and Lori unsuccessfully attempt to repair Ted. Feeling saddened about the incident, Lori makes a wish on a shooting star. The next morning, Ted is magically restored as a result of the wish and happily reunites with John and Lori, encouraging them to resume their relationship. Sometime later, John and Lori are married (with Sam Jones as the presiding minister), and Ted comfortably accepts having a life of his own as he and Tami-Lynn continue their love affair. Sam Jones attempts to restart his career and moves into a studio apartment with Brandon Routh. Rex gives up his pursuit of Lori, goes into a deep depression, and dies of Lou Gehrig's disease. Donny gets arrested by the Boston Police Department for kidnapping Ted, but the charges are dropped. Robert hires a personal trainer, loses a significant amount of weight, and goes on to become Taylor Lautner.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Seth MacFarlane wrote, produced, and directed the film, and provided the motion capture and the voice for the title character.

Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut is a live-action effort, with computer animation handled by visual effects facilities Tippett Studio and Iloura. MacFarlane wrote the screenplay with his Family Guy colleagues Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild.[5] MacFarlane originally wanted to make Ted into an animated television show, much like his previous works Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show- and later revealed in an interview with TheWrap ahead of the release of the prequel series in 2024 that he had actually pitched the idea as a family-oriented series during his time working at Hanna-Barbera, wherein Ted would be what MacFarlane described as a "leech on the family" as the boy went on to grow up, go to college and start said family. While MacFarlane himself admitted he "never did anything with" the original incarnation of the project, he came back to it when considering ideas for his first feature film, realizing it "seemed like an idea that had some legs... and since it was a movie instead of a TV show and an ongoing group of characters, it seemed like telling a love story from start to finish and using that framework was maybe a better way to go. So the dad became a single guy trying to get his relationship back together".[6][7]

Originally, 20th Century Fox was offered to finance and distribute the film, given its collaboration with MacFarlane for shows like Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show. However, MacFarlane wanted a $65 million budget for the film, which Fox considered the price to be too high for the R-rated comedy film, let alone for a first-time director, and was skeptical about the film's future success. They also wanted it to have a PG-13 rating instead of an R, which MacFarlane, Sulkin, and Wild ended up writing a version of. However, despite this, Fox backed out and MacFarlane began to take the project elsewhere.[8] On April 12, 2010, Universal Pictures announced that it had acquired the full rights to Ted after it agreed to the $65 million budget he requested and to direct the R-rated version of the script.[2][9]

On October 26, 2010, Mark Wahlberg joined in the project as the lead actor.[5] Two months later on December 14, Mila Kunis, the voice actress for Meg Griffin from Family Guy, also joined the cast.[10] On February 23, 2011, Giovanni Ribisi joined Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in Ted.[11] Filming began in May 2011 in Boston, Norwood and other locations in Massachusetts.[12]

The film was scheduled for release in the United States on July 13, 2012, but it was moved up to June 29, both to avoid competition with Ice Age: Continental Drift and following the delay of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[13] Internationally, the film was released in Australia on July 5, 2012,[14] and on August 1, 2012, in the United Kingdom and Ireland.[15]

Soundtrack[edit]

The film's soundtrack was released by Universal Republic Records on June 26, 2012. It features the score by Walter Murphy and songs by various artists such as Norah Jones and Queen. Seth MacFarlane co-wrote the opening theme "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" with Murphy.[16] The song was later nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 85th Academy Awards.[17]

Track listing All tracks by Walter Murphy except where indicated.

No.TitleWriter(s)Performer(s)Length
1."Everybody Needs a Best Friend"Seth MacFarlane and Walter MurphyNorah Jones2:28
2."The Power Of Wishes"Walter Murphy 3:11
3."Thunder Buddies for Life"  1:56
4."John & Lori at Work / A Walk in the Park"  1:36
5."Magical Wish"  0:51
6."Rex's Party (Everybody Needs a Best Friend)"  2:30
7."The Breakup"  1:01
8."Never be Scared of Thunder Again"  1:06
9."Ted is Captured"  3:48
10."The Car Chase / Fenway Pursuit"  3:27
11."Climbing the Tower / She's Your Thunder Buddy Now"  3:59
12."Saving Ted / Lori's Wish"  3:39
13."The Proposal / The Wedding"  2:56
14."End Titles"  5:14
15."Flash's Theme"Brian MayQueen2:31
16."Sin"Mike Burdge, Scott Garapolo & Tim MercerDaphne2:23
17."Only Wanna Be with You"Mark Bryan, Everett Felber, Darius Rucker & James SonfeldHootie & The Blowfish3:48
18."Come Away with Me"Norah JonesNorah Jones3:07
19."All Time High"John BarryRita Coolidge3:03
20."I Think We're Alone Now"Ritchie CordellTiffany3:46
21."Thunder Buddies for Life"Walter MurphySeth MacFarlane & Mark Wahlberg0:14
Total length:56:34

Other songs which do not appear on the soundtrack but are featured in the film include songs from Queen's Flash Gordon soundtrack: "Football Fight", "Battle Theme", and "The Hero", as well as the "Knight Rider Theme" by Stu Phillips, "Stayin' Alive" by "Bee Gees", "Kiss Kiss" by "Chris Brown" and "The Imperial March" by John Williams. The film trailers used the songs "Best Friend" by Harry Nilsson and "How You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy.

Marketing[edit]

To promote the film, Universal Pictures teamed up with Axe in a marketing campaign that involved the title character and the brand's hair care product Axe Hair.[18] In one commercial, Ted takes a woman on a date to a fancy restaurant, where he brings her to orgasm under the table before handing another man a box of Axe Hair gel.[19]

To promote the film in Japan, United International Pictures teamed up with Spike Chunsoft in a marketing campaign that involved the title character and Danganronpa bear mascot Monokuma.[20]

In February 2013, Wahlberg and MacFarlane (as Ted) made an appearance at the 85th Academy Awards, which MacFarlane himself hosted.[21]

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

Ted grossed $218.8 million in North America and $330.6 million overseas for a total gross of $549.4 million, against a budget of $50 million.[1] It was Universal's highest-grossing film in 2012, ahead of Snow White and the Huntsman and Battleship[22] (the only one to pass $400 million[23]), and the 12th-highest-grossing film of 2012.

Asia[edit]

Ted debuted in first place in Taiwan and got the best comedy opening ever there.[24] It also debuted in Hong Kong, with $1.4 million, and grossed $571,000 in its first week in South Korea,[25] eventually grossing $8 million, $3.8 million and $1.8 million respectively.[26] It also grossed $2.1 million in both Indonesia and Singapore, and $1.4 million in Thailand.[26]

In January 2013, the film opened at number one in Japan, its final market, with $4.5 million, the best start ever for an R-rated comedy there. In comparison, it grossed more in its opening weekend than The Hangover Part II made in its entire run.[27] The following weekend, it retained the number one spot for the second consecutive frame, grossing $3.6 million at 137 dates, for a 10-day market cumulative total of $11.2 million.[28] By its third weekend, the film stayed at the number one spot for a third week, with earning down less than 10%, pushing Ted's overseas total past the $300 million mark, and making it the top grossing R-rated comedy of all time in Japan.[29] It then had its fourth consecutive weekend at number one, drawing another $3 million at 354 locations in the country.[30] Its cumulative total stands at $44 million grossed.[31]

Europe[edit]

Ted debuted with $14.3 million in the United Kingdom, making it the third-best debut ever for a Universal film behind Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and King Kong,[32] eventually grossing over $48.9 million in the country. Ted was released in cinemas across the United Kingdom on August 3.[26]

The film had a $7.4 million launch in Germany,[32] holding #1 spot for three-straight weeks,[33] eventually grossing over $31.4 million.[26]

In Spain, it opened with $2.3 million, which is the highest ever for an original R-rated comedy there,[34] eventually grossing over $14.3 million.[26]

The film also had the best Hollywood comedy debut ever in Russia, grossing $5.5 million,[32] eventually grossing $17 million.[26]

Ted spent its first four weeks atop the weekend box office in both the Netherlands,[35] and Austria,[36] eventually grossing $8.4 million, and $6.2 million in those countries respectively.[26] The movie also opened at number one in Belgium, with $587,000, eventually grossing $4.4 million.[26]

In Italy, the film had a second place start, grossing $3.3 million in its opening weekend there,[37] moving up to number one on its second week, with $4.2 million grossed.[38] It has since grossed $14.1 million there.[26]

In France, the film debuted at number two, grossing $3 million in 348 theatres during its opening weekend,[39] eventually grossing $11.5 million in the country.[26]

North America[edit]

Ted earned $2.6 million in midnight showings in the United States and Canada.[40] For its opening day, Ted scored one of the best R-rated comedy debuts ever since The Hangover with an estimated $20.2 million.[1][41] The film earned a total of $54.4 million in its opening weekend, well over second-place R-rated Magic Mike's $39.2 million.[42] Its overall weekend gross set a record for the highest original R-rated comedy opening in history.[43] It was the first time two R-rated films grossed more than $21 million each during a weekend.[44] Overall, Ted had the eighth-highest opening weekend for any R-rated film, behind The Matrix Reloaded, The Hangover Part II, The Passion of the Christ, 300, Hannibal and Watchmen.[45]

In Mexico, the film debuted in first place with $2.1 million,[23] grossing $13.4 million.[26]

Oceania[edit]

Ted also debuted at number one in Australia and New Zealand, grossing over $35.5 million and $3.5 million respectively.[26] Its $13.1 million opening in Australia, of which $4.5 million were from previews, was Universal's biggest opening ever in the country.[24] In Australia, Ted was rated MA 15+,[46] whereas in New Zealand, it was rated R13 for its theatrical release and R16 for the DVD/Blu-ray release.

South America

In Brazil, the film opened with $1.4 million at 273 sites,[47] moving up to 1st place in the country on its third week of release.[48] It has since grossed $8.8 million there.[26]

The film also grossed $4.6 million in Argentina, 2 million in Chile, 1.9 million in Peru, and 1.7 million in Colombia.[26]

Critical reception[edit]

Most of the reviews Ted received were positive.[49][50][51] On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 69% of 223 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.40/10. The website's consensus reads: "Ted's 'romance versus bromance' plot is familiar, but the film's held aloft by the high-concept central premise and a very funny (albeit inconsistent) script."[52] On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 62 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[53] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[54]

Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, citing the film as "the best comedy screenplay so far [this year]," also praising the film on the fact that it "doesn't run out of steam."[55]

Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club gave the film a "B" grade.[56] Brent McNight of Beyond Hollywood commented on the jokes: "Some of these jokes hit, some jokes miss."[57] On the other hand, A. O. Scott of The New York Times called Ted "boring, lazy and wildly unoriginal."[58]

Director Paul Thomas Anderson has stated that he is a big fan of the film, calling it "great" and also putting it on his favorite films of the 21st century list.[59][60]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award / Film Festival Category Recipients Result Ref.
Teen Choice Award
(2012)
Choice Summer Movie: Comedy Ted Nominated [61]
Choice Movie: Voice Seth MacFarlane as Ted Nominated
Choice Movie: Chemistry Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg Nominated
International Film Music Critics Association Award
(2012)
Best Original Score for a Comedy Film Walter Murphy Won [62]
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award
(2012)
Breakthrough Performance Behind the Camera Seth MacFarlane Nominated [63]
Jupiter Award
(2012)
Best International Film Seth MacFarlane Won [64]
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award
(2012)
Best Comedy Ted Won [65]
People's Choice Award
(39th)
Favorite Comedy Movie Ted Won [66]
Favorite Movie Actress Mila Kunis Nominated
Favorite Comedic Movie Actress Mila Kunis Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award
(18th)
Best Comedy Ted Nominated [67]
Best Actor in a Comedy Mark Wahlberg Nominated
Best Actress in a Comedy Mila Kunis Nominated
American Cinema Editor Award
(2012)
Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical Jeff Freeman Nominated [68]
Georgia Film Critics Association Award
(2013)
Best Original Song "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" — Seth MacFarlane and Walter Murphy Nominated [69]
Academy Award
(85th)
Best Original Song "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" — Seth MacFarlane and Walter Murphy Nominated [70]
Empire Award
(18th)
Best Comedy Ted Won [71]
MTV Movie Award
(2013)
Movie of the Year Ted Nominated [72]
Best Female Performance Mila Kunis Nominated
Best Shirtless Performance Seth MacFarlane Nominated
Best Kiss Mila Kunis and Mark Wahlberg Nominated
Best Fight Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg Nominated
Best On-Screen Duo Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg Won
Best WTF Moment Seth MacFarlane Nominated
Saturn Award
(39th)
Best Fantasy Film Ted Nominated [73]
ASCAP Award
(2013)
Top Box Office Films Seth MacFarlane and Walter Murphy Won [74]
Spike Guy's Choice Award
(2012/2013)
Guy Movie of the Year Ted Won [75]
Best Fight Scene Mark Wahlberg Won

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on December 11, 2012, by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.[76] Both formats featured an unrated version of the film (112 minutes) and were also released in Australia on November 21, 2012, in an "Extended Edition".[77] It was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on November 26, 2012.

On May 3, 2016, Ted vs. Flash Gordon: The Ultimate Collection was released on Blu-ray plus Digital HD, featuring Flash Gordon and the unrated versions of Ted and Ted 2.[78]

Future[edit]

Sequel[edit]

During the 2012 American Dad! Comic-Con panel, MacFarlane stated that he would be open to a sequel to Ted.[79] In September 2012, chief executive Steve Burke said that the studio would be looking to make a sequel to Ted "as soon as possible".[80]

On Anderson Live, Wahlberg confirmed that a sequel was in the works and that it would be the first sequel in his career, while also revealing that he and Ted (as voiced by MacFarlane) would appear at the 85th Academy Awards.[81]

In February 2014, Deadline reported that Amanda Seyfried had been cast as the female lead, and that Kunis would not return.[82] On July 8, MacFarlane announced that work had officially begun on the sequel.[83] Ted 2 was released in the United States on June 26, 2015.[84] It was neither critically nor financially as successful, though it still turned a profit, grossing $215.9 million on a $68 million budget.

Television series[edit]

In June 2021, it was announced that a live-action prequel television series of the film had been ordered at Peacock. It is a co-production between Universal Content Productions, Fuzzy Door Productions and MRC Television with MacFarlane and Erica Huggins as executive producers.[85] The series centers on John and Ted as teenagers in 1993.[86] In April 2022, it was announced that Giorgia Whigham, Max Burkholder and Scott Grimes were cast as series regulars, in addition to MacFarlane reprising the voice of Ted.[87] In May 2022, Alanna Ubach joined the cast as a series regular.[88] The series premiered on January 11, 2024.[89]

References[edit]

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