North American moviegoers spent the Memorial Day weekend nursing a giant Hangover as the raunchy comedy sequel helped power the holiday to record ticket sales,according to studio data issued recently
Meanwhile,foreign fans ensured that the fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean adventure remained the top global pick.
The Hangover,Part II,one of the most anticipated releases of the summer,sold $137.4 million worth of tickets across the United States and Canada during its first five days,said distributor Warner Bros. Pictures. It has already earned more than the 2009 original did in its first 10 days despite largely negative critical reaction to the latest tale of four revellers drunken hijinks,this time in Thailand.
The tally,which includes $31.6 million from a head start,exceeded the studios expectation of an opening in the $90 million to $100 million range. The film cost the Time Warner Inc unit about $80 million to make. The film also opened in 40 foreign markets,earning $60.3 million,according to updated Warner Bros. data. It opened at No. 1 in Britain with $16.7 million,setting a record for an American comedy,the studio said.
Along with new installments in the Kung Fu Panda and Pirates Of The Caribbean franchises,Hangover drove Memorial Day holiday weekend sales to a new record of about $280 million,according to box-office analysts at Hollywood.com. The old record of $255 million was set in 2007.
The multiplex stampede could not come at a better time for the studios,which suffered a dismal first half. Hollywood.com estimated that 2011 sales slid 8.8 per cent through May 29,while the number of tickets sold dropped 10.2 per cent.
Summer is the most lucrative time of the year for Hollywood,with sales accounting for about 40 per cent of the annual take. But the studios do not take too many chances with their product,relying on sequels to bring in the masses. A new X-Men film opened last Friday,followed by Cars and Transformers updates later in June.
Kung Fu Panda 2,a follow-up to the 2008 animated hit,opened at No. 2 with a five-day haul of $68 million. The original had earned $73 million in the same period,and went on to gross $215 million.
Paramount Pictures,the distributor of the DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc release,had forecast a modest opening in the $65 million to $70 million range for the new film despite premium pricing for 3D screenings.
The film also earned $57 million from just 11 foreign countries,mostly in Asia. China led the way with $18.5 million. Paramount is a unit of Viacom Inc.
Last weekends champion Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,the fourth entry in Johnny Depps pirate adventure,slipped to No. 3 with $50.4 million for the four days from Friday to Monday.
The total for the Walt Disney Co release rose to $164 million after 11 days,far short of the pace for the previous film. In 2007,At World’s End had earned $222 million in the same span.
Still,the new film is the top pick around the world,with foreign weekend sales of $137.1 million sending the overseas total to $485.1 million. The global total including North American sales stands at $649 million.
Hangover scribe in early talks for third film
As The Hangover: Part II speeds past a record-breaking $200 million at the worldwide box-office,Warner Bros. is beginning to get the creative gang together for the third part.
Craig Mazin,who co-wrote the Bangkok-set sequel,is in early talks to work on the new script. Story details are being kept secret.
Todd Phillips,who directed the first two movies,has intimated in recent interviews that he has an idea for a third installment of the raunchy comedy movies,which center around a simple concept: a trio of guys played by Bradley Cooper,Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms black out after a wild bachelor party and then retrace their steps to find out what really happened.
Warners had no comment although a high-level executive said that a third movie is all but a given. The latest film has become the fastest comedy to hit the $200 million level. It grossed $135 million in its first five days of release across North America and an additional $70.1 million in 40 overseas markets.
Mazin wrote the sequel with Phillips and Scot Armstrong. His credits include a pair of Scary Movie sequels,and he also directed the comic book parody Superhero Movie.
Creative Artists Agency,the talent firm that represents the writers,the director,and the three actors,said no deals have been made for a third film.