Salma Hayek was briefly part of a billion-dollar movie franchise, taking on a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in last year’s Eternals. And it’s looking like she could now join another big one, though this movie franchise is of a much different ilk. The surprisingly entertaining and economically viable Magic Mike franchise is about to get another big name. Deadline is reporting that Salma Hayek will join Channing Tatum in this movie, the third in the trilogy, following the exit of originally cast star Thandiwe Newton.
It’s being reported that Thandiwe Newton is allegedly leaving Magic Mike’s Last Dance because of personal reasons, though no other details have been offered on that front. Salma Hayek will take her place in a, for now, undisclosed role. It’s a big addition to the movie which was announced back in November. We know, of course, that Channing Tatum is back on board, though it’s not totally clear who else might be coming back from the first two films. Though it’s easy to see why this franchise was able to attract another big name for the part following Newton’s exit.
It had been speculated by The Sun that Thandiwe Newton was fired from Magic Mike’s Last Dance because of a heated fight with Channing Tatum over the events at the Oscars a couple of weeks ago involving Will Smith. Newton’s camp has denied that being the case, citing the aforementioned personal reasons as the driver. Whatever the case, she is no longer attached to the movie with Salma Hayek taking over this role. It’s speculated that her character will be the love interest for Tatum’s Mike with director Steven Soderbergh saying the movie franchise will finish up with the titular character settling down in some fashion.
On the part of Salma Hayek, joining the Magic Mike franchise could make a lot of sense on a critical and financial level. The first two movies were enormous successes. Magic Mike earned more than $167 million at the box office on its paltry $7 million budget, making it one of the best pound-for-pound studio windfalls in some time. It was a hit with critics as well, scoring 79% on Rotten Tomatoes with praise coming in almost all directions from the story, casting, dance sequences, and tone.
And the follow-up, Magic Mike XXL was another strong performer, scoring $122 million at the box office. In terms of the Marvel franchise, are these massive box office numbers? No. But considering the overall production costs, this is a total hit of a franchise making it somewhat easy to see why Salma Hayek would jump on board. Plus Channing Tatum and Steven Soderbergh seem to have a clear vision of how they want to wrap up Mike’s story once and for all.
Salma Hayek is coming off a role in Eternals as the group’s initial leader Ajak. The flick was a moderate disappointment for the Marvel Universe, all things considered, not landing with critics and “struggling” to $400 million at the box office on the reported $200 million budget. She also played Pina Auriemma in House of Gucci.