Weekend Box Office: R-Rated ‘Hangover’ Destroys Family-Friendly ‘Panda’

Memorial Day weekend began a day early this year with both the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘Hangover’ sequels opening on Thursday. While the premature release scored huge numbers for one, the other didn’t perform so well.

The Hangover Part II‘ brought in a solid $86 million over the standard weekend, only $5 million behind the highest R-rated opening ever, 2003’s ‘The Matrix Reloaded’. Combining its weekend tally with the huge numbers it brought in on Thursday, ‘Part II’ has already grossed $117.6 million. Monday’s Memorial Day winnings ought to bring it a whole lot higher.

Even though ‘Part II’ scored big at the box office, the repetitive story, unoriginal jokes and surprising low 36% Rotten Tomatoes rating (compared to a 79% rating for the original ‘Hangover’) may hurt its long-term performance. But with numbers this big, rumors are already flying about the studio pushing for a third installment possibly set in Amsterdam.

Surprising, ‘Kung Fu Panda 2‘ only opened with $47.8 million, almost $13 million behind the opening of 2008’s ‘Kung Fu Panda‘. Taking into account that it had the additional benefit of 3D ticket prices, ‘Panda 2’ was down more than two thirds in attendance from the original. Hopefully ‘Panda 2’ will benefit from strong word-of-mouth and have a long, successful run like fellow DreamWorks Animation title ‘How to Train Your Dragon‘.

In its second weekend, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides‘ dropped over 56% in attendance. While this plummet would normally worry a studio, the rising international success calms the studio seas.

Continuing to hold its own after three consecutive weeks, ‘Bridesmaids‘ is once again down only 20% from last weekend. Do not expect ‘Hangover Part II’ to fall in this slow manner.

Palme d’Or winner ‘The Tree of Life‘ brought in huge numbers despite only opening in a four-screen L.A./New York release. Bringing in $373,000 in total, ‘The Tree of Life’ earned an average of $93,250 per screen. To show how big those numbers are, ‘The Hangover Part II’ only opened with a screen average of $23,799. With a platform release that will expand the screen numbers over then next two weeks, expect to see ‘Tree of Life’ follow the mold of fellow Cannes 2011 film ‘Midnight in Paris‘. With its expansion from 6 to 58 screens, ‘Midnight in Paris’ jumped from the 13 spot to #7. Earning early Oscar buzz, it’s more than possible that ‘The Tree of Life’ could do even bigger numbers.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Hangover Part II’ (Warner Bros.) – $86 million

2. ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ (Paramount/DreamWorks) – $47.8 million

3. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Buena Vista) – $39.6 million

4. ‘Bridesmaids’ (Universal) – $16.6 million

5. ‘Thor’ (Paramount) – $9.4 million

6. ‘Fast Five’ (Universal) – $6.4 million

7. ‘Midnight in Paris’ (Sony Pictures Classics) – $1.9 million

8. ‘Something Borrowed’ (Warner Bros.) – $1.9 million

9. ‘Rio’ (Fox) – $1.8 million

10. ‘Jumping the Broom’ (TriStar) – $1.8 million


  1. Lahrs

    I took my wife and my five-year-old daughter to see Kung Fu Panda 2, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the movie. This was the first movie my daughter has seen in the theater since How to Train Your Dragon, and she sat just as wide eyed and excited through Kung Fu Panda 2 that she did with Dragon.

    The only thing I did not like was the concession prices. We went to a Cinemark theater during their matinee showing and spent $17.00 on tickets, but spent an additional $18.50 for a medium popcorn, two waters! and a Coke. That is outrageous and next time I will be sneaking in drinks.

    • Yeah, we went and saw Kung Fu Panda yesterday, and the theater was packed – and this was a matenee in the 2D theater. I am sure the 3D was packed as well. And the kids really enjoyed it (and not just the ones I was with, there were delighted giggles and laughs all over the theater).

      My only complaint was that the movie was way too dark – the theater left their stupid 3D lense on, even though that was the 2D auditorium. Felt like I was watching a movie through sunglasses. But the kids didn’t seem to mind. And can’t really complain about the $5 tickets either. I will complain about the $6 drinks, though!

      • Lahrs

        We saw the 2D version, and the first thing I did was look at the projector, and since it had only one beam, I knew it was the right one. The colors were bright and crisp and a noticeable step up from the first movie, which I already thought looked great.

        My wife still gets intense headaches when watching a movie in 3D, so the last 3D movie I saw in the theater was Avatar.

      • There’s a reason for the “darkening”, and Roger Ebert wrote a GREAT piece about it. We as theater patrons definitely need to start paying more heed to how movies are projected, especially if we go into a theater after a 3D movie has been replaced by a “standard 2D” movie, or else we’ll be watching a much darker film (referred to as “watching a movie through sunglasses” by William).

        Here’s the link for Ebert’s article:

        • Yeah, I actaully just e-mailed the theater and complained. Good article. It means I will be taking my business back to the Rave where they use Christine projectors. I was thinking the Starplex and AMCs looked darker than the Rave – now I know it!

  2. I never pay for concession, if I had kids they wouldnt be getting popcorn or drinks, most of the time my wife gets some candy or drinks in her huge purse, no way I’m paying for stuff that costs 3x to 4x what walmart charges and you get BIGGER stuff at Walmart, IMO you have no right to complain if you’re still “smart” enough to keep paying for it

    Saw Pirates over the break and really enjoyed it, the rest I’ll wait till DVD/Bluray to check out 🙂

    • Truthfully, if I am buying popcorn and stuff, I usually get the kid’s pack. Yeah, its overpriced too, but I am not a big soda drinker or popcorn eater, so the kids pack is right about the right price for me.

      Our cheapy theater has dollar hotdogs, so that’s not too bad.

      If I want to eat at the theater, I usually go to the Movie Tavern. Their food is on par with a casaul-dining restaraunt, as is the prices, and as that is their big draw, their ticket prices seem cheaper than many other theaters in my area. They have gourmet foods as well, but for me, pizza, beer and a good action movie make for a great trip to the theater! The Movie Tavern also seems to know how to operate their projectors, and at least at the ones I go to, normally remember to take off the 3D lenses for 2D movies!

  3. Lahrs

    I have every right to complain about the high prices, whether I pay for them or not.

    I do try to follow the rules, so lets face it, sneaking food into the theater is wrong. Not liking the high prices doesn’t give me the right to sneak stuff in and break the rules. I am still going to do it, but I have to at least accept that what I am doing is wrong, not smart.

    I do wonder if this is one market where lowering the price would increase profits due to a higher volume of sales.

    • If I remember right, theaters do not make a whole lot of money from ticket sales – they make it from concessions.

      Its why I go to the Movie Tavern. Lets see, I can pay $12 at the regular theater for a watered-down coke and Popcorn, or I can go to the movie tavern, and for the same $12 can get a gourmet burger, a beer, and maybe even a desert.

      Your question, though, was if lower prices would increase sales. I don’t think it would make much difference at the large cinemaplex. Go and look at all the people in the auditoriums, or at lines at the concession stands. People have their ginormous popcorns, extra-large drinks, nachos, hotdogs, and so forth. People moan and complain about the prices, yet still pay it.

      The difference is the dollar theaters. There is NEVER anyone at the concession stands, and you go in there and see the mom of three pulling juice boxes and hot dogs out of the diaper bags. Now if they lowered prices to something reasonable, then they would probably notice an increase in profits.

    • Really? I can understand complaining about them and actually NOT paying for them, but you keep paying for them….so obviously it must not be high enough for you to stop, so what are you complaining about when its your fault that you keep paying for them?

      Thats like someone bitching about smoking and how much it costs per pack, well its your fault for continuing to smoke and buying the over priced cigarettes.

      I could care less if sneaking food into the theater is wrong, charging so much for food that costs 10x less anywhere else is whats really wrong, if I’m already paying way too much for ticket prices I’m not going to pay even more for their highly overpriced food

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