It’s been ten years since Seth MacFarlane made his directorial debut with the hilarious Ted, the story of a man who brought his teddy bear to life in a storm.
Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis star alongside MacFarlane in his first live-action project. Best known for the animated series Family Guy, MacFarlane’s unique humor made Ted an instant hit. The bear was foul-mouthed, badly behaved, and yet instantly lovable. MacFarlane reported he originally planned the script as an animated show, but fans lapped it up as a live-action movie.
It was a huge hit at the box office, grossing $549.4 million against a $65 million budget, and it became the highest-grossing comedy film of 2012 and the second highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time. The character became hugely popular across digital media; he appeared in the Family Guy Online video game in 2012, delighting fans. There is also a Gala Spins Megaways title, Ted, featuring the character’s likeness and branding, which underlines his importance to people ten years on. The sequel, Ted 2, wasn’t as well received, but a live-action TV show is planned for 2023, which along with the video games, proves how popular the character is.
Could we see a Ted 3 that genuinely satisfies fans? Ted 2 made considerably less at the box office, $216m against a budget of $68m, according to Box Office Mojo, and it wasn’t a critical success either. MacFarlane has spoken of the difficulty in going ahead with more sequels, as it is harder to keep the content feeling fresh. “It’s all based on appetite,” he said. “The franchise, to me, is one that’s more character-based than premise-based. If you look at it like episodes on television, if you have characters that people like and they want to see them, again and again, you can tell any number of different stories. If there’s a desire for it, then yeah, we would do a Ted 3.”
It’s been seven years since Ted 2, and one reason the world hasn’t seen a sequel is an ongoing legal battle. In 2014, as Ted 2 was filming, he was hit with a lawsuit from the creator of a web series called Acting School Academy. It also featured a foul-mouthed teddy bear and dropped on YouTube, Vimeo, FunnyorDie, iTunes, and Facebook in 2009. The claimant sought compensatory and statutory damages, costs, an injunction, and a disgorgement of profits. That certainly held up any immediate Ted 3, and although the lawsuit was dismissed, nothing solid has been planned since.
However, if we revisit MacFarlane’s comments with the context of the new television show, then there’s every chance we could get a Ted 3. The show, set during the duo’s younger years, could well set up fresh storylines to pursue in a film and develop characters to bring back into a blockbuster movie later. It isn’t unusual for shows to result in a movie; we’ve seen it with The Last Kingdom and its movie, Seven Kings Must Die, whilst Peaky Blinders will do the same.
Could a renewed interest in the TV show lead to a Ted 3? With the character still proving popular, the new series could be the stepping-stone we need to once again visit Ted, John Bennett, and even Giovanni Ribisi’s hilarious Donny.