Weekend Box Office: Despite All Warnings, Everybody Sees 'The Hangover Part II'

by Gabe Toro
May 29, 2011 6:58 AM
39 Comments
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In the future, sequels to all our popular films will not require writers, directors, or even new talent. Sure, they might re-hire some of the people responsible for the first film, but by and large, the leading users of Xerox technology will be Hollywood executives. At least, that’s if the mammoth opening for “The Hangover Part II” is any indication, as the film took advantage of the holiday weekend to score an expected $137 million over this five day period. Critics seemed to do everything short of design spreadsheets to illustrate just how Todd Phillips and company were replicating the exact story of the first film (arguably, the marketing campaign did the same), but audiences, who loved the earlier installment enough to make it a massive word-of-mouth hit, were apparently happy enough to indulge the funnymen (not women, though -- sorry, ladies!) behind the picture one more time.

Cinemascore reveals that the crowds for this film graded the picture as an “A-” so clearly there are some indiscriminate viewers out there. Regardless, everyone comes out of this a winner, as the picture wasn’t costly and could even outgross the first film. The massive $10 million plus Wednesday midnight numbers (you guys really had to rush out and see this?) suggests that the film will be massively frontloaded, and it could collapse next weekend. But the ideal Hollywood blockbuster makes its bread in its first few days, with future earnings representing a victory lap, so everything beyond this opening is gravy. On the bright side, this series in in a perfect position to take the next sequel into space.

Todd Phillips has been here before, though not to this extent. The prickly comedic director, who has carved out a solid niche on the directing A-List, followed up “Road Trip” and “Old School” with the almost spitefully low-fi “Starsky And Hutch.” With a certain amount of talent in working with onscreen comedians and a skill with pacing his peers do not possess, Phillips failed upwards with that television adaptation, and he wasted industry goodwill with his next offering, “School For Scoundrels.” With the runaway success of “The Hangover,” his decision, along with Warner Bros. marketing, to make the same film again seems like more of a middle finger to the audience, more of a sign of clear contempt. As performance art, it’s admirable. As a box office hit, it’s pretty telling considering who goes to see these movies. Curious to see where Phillips goes from here.

On the other end of the spectrum was another sequel, “Kung Fu Panda 2.” While DreamWorks was crowing about multiple sequels for the $631 million grossing original, this much less impressive bow suggests Saturday morning cartoons might be the place for this character. Some are built-in brands, and some are just random corporate mascots, and while 'Panda' has the critic love that escaped the same company‘s “Shrek” films (only in retrospect -- at the time, some smart people were weirdly in the tank for the green ogre), it looks more like the latter. Even with the 3D prices, 'Panda' looks like it will need the full five day weekend only to top the first picture’s three-day bow. Disappointing news for the sequel, which is sort of a big deal by virtue of having an Asian-American female director. Pixar, for the record, has yet to release a film with a female helmer.

Falling out of first was the new “Pirates Of The Caribbean,” which opened softer than the previous two films and should have a proportionally-similar second weekend. The holiday and 3D prices offer a slight buffer, but it’s clear that the film is registering on a lower level compared to the other in the series. That is, domestically, of course -- the difference has been accounted for by overseas markets, who are supporting the picture with numbers either equaled to or exceeding the last film. 'Pirates 4' has already vaulted over $500 million worldwide with ease. To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?

Performing like a powerhouse in weekend number three was “Bridesmaids,” which avoided a sizable hit from the 'Hangover' crowds, 51% of which were (self-loathing?) women. The film looks like an early candidate for one of the season’s most profitable films, and should cross $100 million by next week. In retrospect, the film’s opening wasn’t blockbuster-sized, but a supernatural second weekend hold and a third frame landing on a holiday has done wonders for the film, giving Universal the two biggest success stories of the summer in the Paul Feig comedy and “Fast Five.”

Thor” has actually held quite respectably for an effects blockbuster, especially considering Paramount’s dangerous gamble. The franchise-starter received the biggest 3D opening in history, but with “Priest,” 'Pirates' and 'Panda' arriving shortly after, those 3D engagements were some of the first theaters that Paramount was forced to drop. $180 million domestic is the next target, with more to come depending on how much of that demographic remains after “X-Men” arrives next weekend. The blockbuster glut likely means that “Fast Five” crosses $200 million domestic by next weekend and folds up shop shortly afterwards.

Showing some significant might, “Midnight In Paris” thundered into the top ten despite a limited release. Though there isn’t much going on after that top six, 'Paris' still averaged $33k per-screen at only 58 locations. That’s very impressive, even in a weak specialty market, and it bodes well for future expansion. The picture leapfrogged “Jumping The Broom” and “Something Borrowed” (each again essentially deadlocked) while “Rio” took a “Kung Fu Panda” karate chop to its 3D screens on its way out of the top ten.

Aside from “Midnight In Paris,” business was strong for another art house theater release. “Tree Of Life” debuted to stellar numbers at four locations, averaging a titanic $88k per-screen, for a $352k total. The film will expand slowly, with a nationwide release planned for July, but if you are in New York or Los Angeles, what other menial entertainments are you bothering to sponsor with your cash? What are you, a philistine? Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.

1. Excusing Bad Behavior Part II (Warner Bros.) - $86.5 million ($118 mil.)
2. Kung-Fu Panda 2 (Paramount/Dreamworks) - $48 million ($54 mil.)
3. Johnny Depp’s New Yacht (Disney) - $39.3 million ($153 mil.)
4. Bridesmaids (Universal) - $16.4 million ($85 mil.)
5. Thor (Paramount) - $9.4 million ($160 mil.)
6. Fastest, Fivest, My Head Is Like A Shark’s Fin (Universal) - $6.6 million ($196 mil.)
7. Midnight In Paris (Sony) - $1.9 million ($2.8 mil.)
8. The Wedding Movie For Black People (Sony) - $1.9 million ($34 mil.)
9. The Wedding Movie For White People (Warner Bros.) - $1.8 million ($35 mil.)
10. Rio (Fox) - $1.8 million ($135 mil.)

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39 Comments

  • Studley | May 31, 2011 8:31 AMReply

    I'm with Ronald on this. I like this blog, but these bitchy posts really get to me. We all know that everyone else in the world has terrible taste - let's just accept that and move on, because when you start bitching and whining when a shitty movie makes alot of money, you just sound pretentious.

    It's not like its ever going to change anyway.

  • SuzieLa | May 30, 2011 12:31 PMReply

    <

    FIrst of all, expect the subpeona to appear on your doorstep momentarily for misappropriation of the use of the word 'cunty.' Being that I created that word, cultivated it over many years of hard work as a journalist, I am taken aback, downright devastated that it has been stolen and used for Evil. These are sad times, indeed. Just do us a favor and don't join up with your brother-in-arms up there and go Jihad (yeah, Mekeritrig, learn how to spell) on our asses.

    [ And as a special aside to Mekeritrig, you really hate Americans? Then forget H2 and PIRATES and start seeing Roman Polanski and Uwe Boll movies. Although, out of curiosity... how exactly would a cinematic Jihad work? ]

    Secondly, this site DOES list who the writers are--knowing how to read would solve that problem for ya. And, as far as this site's 'ulterior motives'--well, didn't you read Playlist's manifesto? Their goal: to rule the world and poke innocent fun at movies, some just for laughs, some because they deserve to be torn a new asshole. The only Cunties on this site would appear to be the humorless tits that take this all too seriously. To quote Sergeant Hulka, "Lighten up, Frances."

    Lastly, did YOU ever thing that maybe the reason H2 got an A- is because it is speaking Lowest Common Denominator and is the kind of swill that people lap up like Miller Genuine Draft? And to quote Max Fisher, "I'm not an elitist." STRIPES, ANIMAL HOUISE, SLAP SHOT, SOUTH PARK (the movie), 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN... all among my favorite comedies. So save your inferiority complex-driven hostilities for another time. Or another site, preferably.

    Love and kisses! Have a grrrrrrrrrreat holiday!

  • Amir Syarif Siregar | May 30, 2011 9:39 AMReply

    Boooo... Haters!
    I love the article! Nice job, Gabe!

  • Gabe Toro | May 30, 2011 6:55 AMReply

    Next week's Box Office Report:

    YAY MOVIEZ!

    end.

  • Ronald | May 30, 2011 6:30 AMReply

    @ Brody, and I don't mind giving them clicks and hits and comments. I like the blog usually. I've come to complain because I care. Because articles like this are shit. Makes the place feel like Ain't It Pretentious News. The whole point is that I come here because I share similar taste with some of these people, so it seems utterly redundant and completely idiotic that an article like this would be necessary. We're already here. There's no reason to write nasty articles about those not on the boat.

  • AerosTwiceChastened | May 30, 2011 5:41 AMReply

    for the love of god get someone over the age of 21 to write up these box office reports

  • Brody | May 30, 2011 3:23 AMReply

    @Ronald, I think Playlist in fact have said a few times that they are grateful for all your outrage, as long as it comes with page views, clicks and comments. Have at it!

    Also, those of us that get the editorial viewpoint of Playlist aren't surprised by a single word in this post. Why not click around on some of their past stories and give their excellent blog some more hits?

  • Ronald | May 30, 2011 1:39 AMReply

    Also it should be equally obvious that we have a right to complain about stupid Playlist articles just as Playlist has a right to write stupid articles.

  • Ronald | May 30, 2011 1:37 AMReply

    It has nothing to do with how good or bad this movie is, and everything to do with how bitchy this article is.

  • Ed | May 30, 2011 1:13 AMReply

    I'm pretty sure Gabe's article made people feel bad about their own taste or something. Not sure why they would care otherwise. Its seems to have really struck a nerve.

  • ASFan | May 29, 2011 12:37 PMReply

    "Critics (and the Playlist, in general), liked the first Hangover, the first Pirates, Fast Five, Dark Knight, Inception, Star Trek, Avatar, Thor, How To Train Your Dragon, Casino Royale, nearly all Pixar films, Rango, Bridesmaids, and many, many more—big movies all (some of THE biggest of the last decade)."

    Regarding Fast Five, the one who reviewed it here gave it a B. But Gabe and others on here gave it a fail.

    Just curious, what percentage of writers for this site liked Fast Five?

  • Gilbag | May 29, 2011 11:14 AMReply

    Hangover 3: In Space, No One Can Hear You Fart

  • Alex | May 29, 2011 10:26 AMReply

    A film playing in 58 theaters on Memorial Day weekend cracked the top 10? That seems like quite a feat actually.

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 10:19 AMReply

    Thanks but I'm done now. :P
    Seriously though, tell Gabe to stop being so self absorbed. They're just films. Otherwise you'll set someone like me off.

    JEEHHAAAAAD!

  • The Playlist | May 29, 2011 10:11 AMReply

    No, I just knew I'd get an extra one if I spelled it purposefully wrong. ;)
    Feel free to continue, we're all ears.

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 10:09 AMReply

    "Thanks to @metkrieg for the extra clicks."

    Someone's too stupid to even copy/paste my name.

  • The Playlist | May 29, 2011 9:55 AMReply

    Thanks to @metkrieg for the extra clicks.

    Also thanks to @bonzob for explaining what should be self-evident, but sadly, is obviously not.

  • Michael | May 29, 2011 9:39 AMReply

    I don't really care about David Fincher's travails, Bri (no offense). That's not my point. My point is that sneering at The Hangover Part II while smugly enjoying to Parks and Recreation/the new The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trailer is not exactly what I call a triumph of intellectualism and a defense of cinematic art.

    There are pleasures to be had with these middle-brow diversions, but frankly I don't see a huge distinction between digesting Todd Phillips' blatant trash or David Fincher's discreet trash. Fincher's hardly pushing the boundaries of cinema at this point (if ever; as much as I dislike the film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a very noble attempt to further the possibilities of cinema through the aid of technology). If you Playlisters really want to shame Hangover II fans into proper cinema, go for more Apichatpong retrospectives and Tree of Life analyses instead of defending middling drama spectacles on HBO.

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 9:28 AMReply

    “To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?”

    14 Afghan civilians, including up to 12 children, were killed by a US airstrike today. But Gabe Toro is asking the important questions!

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 9:26 AMReply

    “To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?”

    Well generally the idea is that if crap movies make money, Americans will continue making bigger and bigger crap movies until the whole thing collapses in on itself.

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 9:23 AMReply

    “To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?”

    We'll get the UN working on this question immediately.

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 9:16 AMReply

    “To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?”

    I've heard a lot US politicians say America is the exceptional nation. Now I understand they meant that Americans are exceptionally whiny.

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 9:12 AMReply

    “To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?”

    Because we like to hear you whine.

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 9:12 AMReply

    “To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?”

    Because you touch yourself at night.

  • bonzob | May 29, 2011 9:12 AMReply

    Tired, tired, arguments, Bri. People who didn't like Transformers 2, Pirates 2-4, Spider-Man 3, X-Men 3, and many others were "in the minority," too, as those movies had huge numbers too. What meaning does those have? Does their success mean they were actually good movies? Or does it mean they were established brands coasting on marketing muscle, designed to appeal to the widest possible audience, especially the least discriminating with the most discretionary income (teenagers)?

    Also, The Playlist and critical communities at large don't dislike "big movies." They dislike shitty movies, big or small. Critics (and the Playlist, in general), liked the first Hangover, the first Pirates, Fast Five, Dark Knight, Inception, Star Trek, Avatar, Thor, How To Train Your Dragon, Casino Royale, nearly all Pixar films, Rango, Bridesmaids, and many, many more -- big movies all (some of THE biggest of the last decade).

    They didn't like Hangover 2. Perhaps because Hangover 2 is lazy shit. Doesn't seem too complicated.

  • Mekeritrig | May 29, 2011 9:10 AMReply

    “To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?”

    Because we hate Americans, that's why. JEEEEHHAAAADD!

  • Bri | May 29, 2011 8:59 AMReply

    since when has anyone really listened to what the critics say? you may hate the movie, but by these numbers....you were in the minority. and honestly gabe...if you hate big movies so much...maybe you're in the wrong business?

    and michael...it's not The Hangover Part II or Todd Phillips that is taking money away from funding real visionaries...it's these visionaries themselves. Fincher is notoriously difficult to work with as can be explained by him not having a deal lined up anywhere for a long ass time...it wasn't until the social network that now he's got a deal in place. Nolan and Abrams are fine...they've made enough money for themselves over the past 5 years.

  • Gabe Toro | May 29, 2011 8:57 AMReply

    Some of you really assume I'm against your God-given right to see shitty movies.

  • Papushi | May 29, 2011 8:33 AMReply

    "To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?"

    World: Fuck you, Gabe Toro.

  • bonzob | May 29, 2011 8:25 AMReply

    Jonathan, if what people want to see is Hangover 2, what's wrong with being out of touch with what people want to see? What, we should all just accept that a movie is good because every frat boy saw it this weekend and thought it was totally sweet, dude?

    I love that there are so many people eager to defend lazy, offensive, crap foisted on a gullible public by millionaires.

  • bonzob | May 29, 2011 8:21 AMReply

    Don't listen to the haters, Gabe (not that you ever do).

    This is your funniest box office wrap up to date, and Hangover 2 can't be shit on enough. Stop rewarding crap, everyone.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | May 29, 2011 8:15 AMReply

    Hey Jonathan, the author of every article is posted right at the end of each post.

  • Jonathan | May 29, 2011 8:13 AMReply

    What a cunty article. This site is so bitter, it's actually becoming kind of sad. How come you don't list who the actual writers of your articles are? I would love to know what the ulterior motives of this site is. H2 got an A- cinemascore? Did you ever think, that maybe, just maybe it is you who is out of touch with what people want to see?

  • ASFan | May 29, 2011 8:10 AMReply

    Hangover 2 might not be as frontloaded as you think if the very miniscule Friday to Saturday drop is any indication.

  • Rico | May 29, 2011 8:03 AMReply

    Jesus Christ get off your fucking high horse.

  • Michael | May 29, 2011 7:33 AMReply

    Sorry, let's substitute Paul Thomas Anderson for JJ Abrams in the list of middlebrow directors mistaken for highbrow visionaries. Some people actually don't like JJ Abrams, whereas any 'cinephile' will breathlessly tell you that Paul Thomas Anderson is the savior of modern cinema. And where, I ask you, would cinema be if it weren't for those three white American male directors upholding the artform for us white American male viewers?

  • Michael | May 29, 2011 7:30 AMReply

    But you see, The Hangover Part II is taking away money that could be funding real visionaries (!) such as David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, and JJ Abrams. Cinema is doomed. Stay home and watch TV, as that's where all true artists are.

  • Ronald | May 29, 2011 7:09 AMReply

    What a bitchy article.

  • Ken | May 29, 2011 7:09 AMReply

    Oh wow, I see that LL Cool J reference

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