LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mike may have the magic, but it's the ladies that have the control in "Magic Mike XXL," as five buff men cater to the female gaze in the supercharged raunchy male stripper movie sequel.
The film, out in U.S. theaters July 1, follows 2012's surprise hit "Magic Mike," with Mike (Channing Tatum) rejoining the Kings of Tampa, his rogue band of male entertainers (Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez and Kevin Nash), for one last ride to an annual stripper convention.
"XXL" serves up elements of a road trip, but the introduction of new female players like Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith) make the film all about what women really want from the men in their lives.
"The first one, we just wanted to make a weird movie about a weird subculture that we hadn't seen on film and that was it," said Tatum, who serves as a producer on the film, the first of which was loosely based on his own experiences as a male dancer.
"This is getting to hang out with the buddies again and ... hopefully try to push the conversation."
Pinkett Smith, who plays the proprietress of an exotic female-only club where women are entertained by male dancers, said she appreciated being consulted on the female point of view.
"Any time you're dealing with sex, it's really important to have an authentic female perspective included because men can't really know how we live in this space and how we relate to this space and what we really need," she said.
Andie MacDowell, who plays fun-loving southern woman Nancy in the film, said "XXL" slyly tapped into women being able to enjoy male entertainment without feeling shame.
"I love the fact that it's a feminist movie in that we are out there enjoying our sexuality," she said. "People are surprised ('Magic Mike') was a success and that just shows how little people understand about women."
Time Warner Inc-owned Warner Bros' "Magic Mike XXL" is projected by BoxOffice.com to open with $29 million over the U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend.
But "XXL" is not just for ladies, said Bomer, who returns as the chiseled Ken. Rather the film is "giving everybody their voice," regardless of gender.
"A lot of the themes of this are very much about expression and communication and taking stigmas and judgment and shame off of sexuality and what turns you on," he said.
Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Christian Plumb