May 31, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
Reception to The Hangover: Part II may have been split (our review), but The Wolfpack had the last laugh as the Hangover sequel broke box office records in its debut. Released unconventionally early last Thursday, it took in $137 million over the extended holiday weekend through Memorial Day Monday. This gave The Hangover: Part II the biggest 5-day opening ever for an R-rated film (2nd biggest, behind The Matrix Reloaded, if you only count the traditional weekend range from Friday to Sunday). But any way you look at it, there’s no denying that it’s the biggest opening ever for a comedy in the U.S., which also enjoyed the highest grossing Memorial Day weekend of all time.
While Hangover II‘s take was the 4th biggest Memorial Day weekend opening ever, there were other movies, too. The holiday weekend’s other wide release, Kung Fu Panda 2, also debuted early last Thursday but only gobbled up $68 million in its first five days, just half of The Wolfpack’s gross and actually lagging a bit behind the pace of the original Kung Fu Panda. Strong word-of-mouth (our review) again rewarded Bridesmaids with only a 21% drop, but poor reviews (our review) slashed Pirates‘ 2nd weekend gross by 56%.
The Hangover: Part II‘s record take is particularly impressive for two reasons. Firstly, it bore the dreaded R-rating that many studios avoid like the plague, especially with sequels and sadly at the expense and compromise of quality (Aliens vs. Predator, Live Free or Die Hard, Terminator Salvation, to name a few). Secondly, it beat an animated sequel to a proven and popular family film. That never happens! Just ask Vincent Chase. So it looks like this summer blockbuster season has really found its groove, and we’ll see what happens this weekend when mutants are thrown into the mix.
Via BOM, here were the top 5 from Friday to Sunday only:
- The Hangover: Part II — Weekend Gross: $86.5 million — Total Gross: $137 million (new)
- Kung Fu Panda 2 — Weekend Gross: $48 million — Total Gross: $68 million (new)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — Weekend Gross: $39.3 million — Total Gross: $152.9 million (#1 last weekend)
- Bridesmaids — Weekend Gross: $16.4 million — Total Gross: $85 million (#2 last weekend)
- Thor — Weekend Gross: $9.4 million — Total Gross: $159.7 million (#3 last weekend)