BOX OFFICE: Every Guy And Their Wolfpack Sees The Hangover Part II

In an alternate film universe we could have seen Captain Jack Sparrow charter a course into a time portal only to wind up harbored in Bangkok, Thailand with the stars of The Hangover on board. However, we don’t live in that universe. That scenario, at the very least, is a much inspired idea than what people got with The Hangover Part II. For this holiday weekend, director Todd Phillips simply changed the setting, added a character or two, and Xeroxed the outline of the first to make this sequel. Despite critics warning that Phillips and crew were replicating the same story from the first film – hell, even the trailers did the same – audiences who loved the first one decided to not play with ruffies this weekend and instead went to see the Wolfpack on the big screen.

The sequel to the 2009 hit comedy had a very impressive $10 million plus opening at Wednesday midnight showings. Impressive because guys made an effort to get out of bed and tell their wives and girlfriends that they’d be hanging out with the guys for a few hours – and the women believed that no funny business was going on. Boy were they wrong. Still, the opening helped to propel the comedy to the best first weekend earnings of a R-rated comedy ever. But the word of mouth that was so sweet when the first Hangover arrived, might begin to sour once friends let other friends know that it’s the same movie only set in Thailand. An A- Cinemascore may beg to differ, but this thing could drop fast next weekend.

So what can we tell about Todd Phillips at this point in his career. He made his niche with Road Trip and Old School, but he also gave us School for Scoundrels and a TV-to-film adaptation of Starsky and Hutch which was a middling comedy with the exception of Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear. The Hangover was a strong comeback, but Phillips was a director for hire at best since it was working from somebody else’s script and not one he had a hand in. The Hangover sequel looks like a shakedown (and not in a Bob Seger song kind of way either) to get audiences to pony up to see the same movie twice.

Placing second this weekend was another sequel (gee, who da thunk?) – Kung Fu Panda 2. Even with favorable reviews (currently at 80% on RT vs. 88% of the original KFP), it looks like most families decided to spend this weekend at home. The first installment made $60 million during its first three-day weekend. The sequel may need the entire Memorial Day weekend to surpass that amount. And that’s including more and more showings of the animated flick in 3D.

Dropping more than 56% in its overall attendance and falling to third place was Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. It had a soft opening, as compared to the previous sequels, and should finish at a lower earnings level to those as well. Of course, that’s on the domestic side. Overseas the film is selling like gangbusters and accounts for 75.5% of the overall gross at this point. Pirates has already accumulated over $600 million worldwide with relative ease. What can I say – Europe loves Johnny Depp sailing the high seas rather than Johnny Depp trying to find Neverland.

While some women may have bolted to please their male counterparts with The Hangover Part II, Bridesmaids continues to be one of the better success stories of the summer thus far. In terms of cost and earnings, it will most likely be one of the season’s most profitable films and should cross $100 million by next week. It didn’t open to blockbuster numbers, but its impressive hold for the second weekend and this week has been impressive to say the least. It also helps Universal in giving the studio two of the biggest successes of the year alongside Fast Five.

Even with stiff competition, Thor has managed to do well. Especially when you consider that it is the start of a franchise for a comic-book character that isn’t a name brand like Superman or Spider-Man. After it had the biggest 3D opening in history, it lost lots of screens to the likes of Pirates and Panda. But after four weeks it has accumulated $160 million stateside and another $250 million internationally. It will be worth following to see if the movie can hit $180 million and above with the upcoming release of X-Men: First Class.

Already the top grossing domestic movie of the year, Fast Five, which finished sixth this weekend, will cross $200 million in the next few days.

Showing considerable hutzpah this weekend was Woody Allen’s latest, Midnight in Paris. Expanding from six to fifty-eight locations, the film jumped from thirteenth to seventh place in the box office standings. That’s pretty impressive on a number of levels. One, it’s a Woody Allen flick. Two, the market is pretty much devoid of quality art house entertainment. And three, its per-screen average was $33k – nearly $10,000 higher than the per-screen average of The Hangover Part II.

Finishing off the top ten we have the two rom-coms competing for your attention, Jumping the Broom and Something Borrowed, and the other mainstream family feature in the marketplace, April holdover Rio.

At the art house level, Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life debuted at four locations to stellar earnings. It averaged $88k per-screen to earn $352k total. The film will slowly expand now until July, so if you have a theater in your neck of the woods that’s playing it – go see it.

1. The Hangover Part II – $86.5 million ($118 million overall)
2. Kung Fu Panda 2 – $48 million ($54 million overall)
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $39.3 million ($623 million worldwide)
4. Bridesmaids – $16.4 million ($85 million overall)
5. Thor – $9.4 million ($409 million worldwide)
6. Fast Five – $6.6 million ($530 million worldwide)
7. Midnight In Paris – $1.9 million ($2.8 million overall)
8. Jumping the Broom – $1.9 million ($34 million overall)
9. Something Borrowed – $1.8 million ($35 million overall)
10. Rio – $1.8 million ($449 million worldwide)

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