Box office preview: 'The Hangover Part II' plans to party all Memorial Day weekend

The first Hangover opened at $45 million two years ago. The Hangover Part II, which tells (almost) exactly the same story (and jokes), only this time in Bangkok, could likely open with twice that amount, closer to $100 million, over the Memorial Day weekend. Despite iffy buzz and a controversy over a smoking chimp (was he trained to inhale or not?), the Todd Phillips comedy reuniting Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis will likely be No. 1 at the box office this weekend, which officially starts Thursday, as the Hangover and Kung Fu Panda sequels look to get a jump on holiday weekend moviegoing. Here are our predictions for what to expect for the five-day frame: 

1. The Hangover Part II: $92 million.

It’s Memorial Day weekend. What better way to celebrate the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform than by joining the Wolfpack in Thailand for Stu’s wedding, and another morning-after misadventure? The first Hangover went on to gross $277 million, making it the biggest R-rated comedy ever. We’re guessing the sequel will fall short of that total, with a big drop off next weekend, but for now, it’s party time!

2. Kung Fu Panda 2. $81 million

The first Panda grossed $60 million in 2008, earning a total of $215 million domestically. With Jack Black once again voicing the cartoon bear, and Angelina Jolie voicing a tiger, we’re not going out on a limb by predicting a powerful second place finishing, and the best animated opening of the year.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: $55 million

It took first place last weekend, with $90 million, but it was the weakest opening weekend for the franchise since the first Pirates. Expect the wind to fall out of its sails this weekend.

4. Bridesmaids: $15 million

It opened at $26 million, dropped only 20 percent to $20.8 million its second weekend. We’re betting good word of mouth will keep business brisk for the R-rated wedding comedy on its third weekend. Plus, it may pick up overflow from sold-out Hangover showings.

5. Thor: $10 million

It dropped over 55 percent last weekend, only grossing $15 million. This weekend — its fourth — should really bring the hammer down.

The Tree of Life, the Cannes Film Festival-winning Terrence Malick 1950s family drama starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, will also open in limited release this weekend in four locations.

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  • Woot

    92 million for The Hangover part II? I hope thats the figure for the holiday weekend. Since I haven’t seen the movie I could be totally wrong, but it honestly looks like the same exact movie as the first… I think I’m gonna skip it.

    • Fan

      You’re probably the only one that thinks that!!

      • fnord

        No, it does look like a tired sequel with nothing unique to add.

      • Chris

        The first one was stupid. Saw part of it on a plane trip, couldn’t stand it and flipped the channel, definitely won’t be seeing the second.

      • “IFFY” buzz?

        It’s got a 34% rank on Rotten Tomatoes. Granted, so did “Pirates” and it opened with $90-95 million, but 1) it’s “Pirates” and 2) it’s got Johnny Depp. I’m looking at $80 million, tops.

      • KFP’s mother

        “Kung Fu Panda” will be #1. It’s tracking extremely well with reviews, and it’s a sequel to a beloved kids’ movie. Plus it’s a holiday weekend.

      • anti

        no, all the critics who ha seen it says that, check rotten tomatoes

    • Cygnus

      I think all 3 top movies will miss those numbers.

  • Frank

    The first Hangover was one of the most overrated comedies I’ve ever seen. It was one of those movies that a packed movie theater made SEEM like it is good while it is really not. Other examples are Paranormal Activity and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

    • Joe

      This might be true I suppose but I never saw it in theaters, just rented it and watched it alone at home and couldn’t stop laughing the majority of the movie. I know being surrounded by other people heightens the hilarity so Im actually reluctant to watch the 2nd one in theaters although Im dying to see it. Definitely not over rated, but thats just my own opinion.

    • anti

      True Frank, very true, we have good taste

  • bcmom

    Nothing in the Hangover II could possibly beat the scene in the bridal salon in Bridesmaids.

  • kaley

    I didn’t expect the first Hangover to be funny, but I laughed until I cried. However, this is not a movie with even semi-decent sequel potential. If I see this, it’ll be via Netflix.

    • Justin P.

      I agree, Kaley. When I first saw the Hangover, I didn’t find it that funny. Then, I re-watched it, and I found it hilarious. Alas, I’ll probably see the next one on Netflix too. On the other hand, I’m definitely going to see Captain America: The First Avenger in the theater.

  • KC

    It would be great if word-of-mouth would decimate that horrible Pirates movie.

  • Jake

    I’m planning to see it. Even if it doesn’t measure up, it’s $10 for a couple hours of fun. Why not?

  • GeeMoney

    Um, not everyone is going to the movies this weekend, so I think that your figures are a little too high.

    • UGH

      No, sh!t. It’s too expensive these days and the flicks are on dvd/vod within a few months’ time. It’s sad to put that out there like that because I enjoy movies, but the expense and aggravation at the theater is enough for me to wait.

  • Adam

    Don’t be surprised if KFP beats it. There are a lot of people (like me) who want to see Hangover but instead will be taking their kids to KFP this weekend.

    • Joe

      Agreed. I don’t know how they expect a similarly popular pg-rated film to lose to an R-rated film that’s being decimated in early reviews. The audience is simply smaller.

  • dominic

    I feel bad for anyone that goes to see The Hangover 2. It looks like the same exact movie as the original. But if auidences can make recent awful-looking comedies such as Little Fockers and Just Go With It each gross over $100 million domestically, I guess a lot of people will see this as well. Audiences should skip The Hangover 2 and go see Bridesmaids. Not only is it hilarious, it’s also original. With the 34% that The Hangover 2 has on Rotten Tomatoes, the chances of me seeing this are becoming less and less. I would much rather go see Midnight In Paris this weekend.

  • Vicky

    Because of the Hangover’s R rating, Kung Fu Panda 2 is going to win. They’ve been playing the crap out of the first movie on FX and the last big animated movie (Rio) came out a month and half ago. Plus, it’s playing in 3D, which will bump up the total.

    • anti

      agree, kids movie usually dominates

  • Jon

    I just assume “Hangover II” will shatter any records because every douche in the world seems to think it’s “daa funniest movie EVER!!!” and quotes it and talks about it, and recounts with joy the tears that streamed down their face while watching it fifteen times. “Hangover” attained that “you had to love this movie” status, which means even the people who managed to avoid the first film will run to see the sequel just so they can make sure they’re like everyone else. I actually have no dislike for the first film; I thought it was a reasonably good movie. I just don’t get the near-obsessive love for it. It was funny, but it wasn’t hilarious, and it just wasn’t that wild.

    • Dave

      I could not agree with you more, Jon.

    • anti

      100 percent true, felt the same

  • TheHIl

    This makes me sad.

  • glam

    The 1st movie TO ME was hillarious–I could not stop laughing. I went into the movie thinking it was gonna be a corny movie, but hey I felt like trying it out! Boy was I wrong…couldnt stop laughing from the time Allen woke up to use the restroom and seen the lion in tube–freaking funniest movie in 2009! LOVED IT–tonight I will be seeing the sequel affter work..cant wait till weekend–lol

  • chase

    Wow, not alot of love for Hangover II. Initially I thought the 1st movie was going to suck but after watch, I thought is was a hoot. Def going to see Part 2.

  • Tuck

    Hangover 2 is tracking 30% right now while, panda’s only at 26%. Advantage: Hangover.

    • Jose

      It’s at 75%, where are you getting the 26 from?

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