The supposed box office slump plaguing Hollywood has vanished as this past weekend may ultimately become the biggest Memorial Day weekend of all time, paced by the 1-2 punch of "The Hangover Part II" and "Kung Fu Panda 2".
THE HANGOVER PART II
First and foremost, the conversation starts with "The Hangover Part II" which delivered the third largest Thursday opening of all time ($31.6 million) and followed it up with the largest R-rated live action comedy opening ever. With a staggering 4-day take of $118.1 million, the film crushed the first film's 4-day start of $52.6 million. Now granted, things are much different this time around as the first film finished up with $467 million worldwide and one of the most popular comedies of the last several years. Additionally, "The Hangover Part II" was arguably the most anticipated mainstream release of the first half of 2011.
Surviving a tepid critical response, "The Hangover Part II" seemed made of teflon and reviews of a positive or negative vibe would not and did not matter at all. With "Part II" not as fresh or as original as "Part One" and largely a retread of the story and plot from the first film, industry analysts were wondering if word-of-mouth would lead to audiences diminishing as the weekend went on. Clearly, that was and is not the case and this "Hangover" is a certifiable smash.
KUNG FU PANDA 2
Receiving smaller than expected numbers, "Kung Fu Panda 2" nonetheless brought in an estimated $53.8 million in its opening four days. This effort at counterprogramming was expected to match or exceed the opening weekend of 2008's "Kung Fu Panda", as that film began with $60.2 million in 3 days domestically, before earning a massive $631.7 million worldwide haul.
Interestingly, audiences overseas bested the North American box office totals, as "Panda 2" earned $57 million across the water. The reaction internally is apparently mixed with some analysts saying that when the 5-day count concludes, the film will be precisely where they expected (approximately $65 stateside), while others reportedly felt the film would finish with a bigger figure. Budgeted at $150 million, the film will be profitable worldwide by next weekend, but may struggle to match the domestic take of the first film's $215 million.
More updates to come through the rest of the Memorial Day weekend, but two films, released on a much smaller scale, turned heads in a big way after the cut!
Terrence Malick's long-gestating "The Tree Of Life" finally debuted to paying customers after a mixed response at the Cannes Film Festival. People came out in droves at the 4 locations the film played at. With an impressive $88,000 per screen average, the film estimated a 3-day take of $352,000, setting up nicely for its long planned city-by-city rollout. Fox Searchlight has mapped out a strategy to drop this in a few cities every weekend through the end of June when the film will have its widest visibility. Budgeted for $32 million, "The Tree Of Life" has started strong, but the polarizing reaction it apparently inspires in those who see it, leave it a wild card in determining the film's ultimate appeal and bankability.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris" is clearly not a fluke as it will safely land in the Top 10 with a mere 58 locations screening the film. After it landed just outside the Top 10 last weekend on just 6 screens, the film saw its attendance skyrocket 220% to haul in $1.9 million for the weekend and $2.8 overall domestic. Rolling along with another $11 million in overseas receipts, Allen has not had a film this well received in years and the film is becoming the topic of conversation not just amongst cinephiles but more mainstream audiences. "Midnight In Paris" is one of the biggest breakout surprises thus far of 2011.
"Pirates Of The Caribbean..." hemorrhaged a rough 56.4% in its second weekend, losing more audience than anticipated to the "Hangover" and "Kung Fu Panda" crowds in North America. Banking $39.3 millio for the 3-day weekend, the film has earned $153 million in 10 days stateside and a remarkable $471 million overseas for a total of $624 million. Can the film continue on to $1 billion? Things are looking positive on that front.
"Bridesmaids" dropped only 21.6% competing with "The Hangover Part II" and has earned $85 million. Well on its way to surging past $100 million, the film continues to draw new and repeat business, almost in spite of new releases hitting the multiplex.
The 3-day weekend box office earned an estimated $216.4 million grossed by the Top 12 films, a gain of an additional 36.3% from the previous weekend, continuing the path towards the biggest Memorial Day Weekend of all time. The Top 12 from the same 3-day Memorial Day weekend in 2010 grossed $145.3 million, aided by the $43.3 million second weekend for "Shrek Forever After".
THE TOP 10 (Weekend Estimates, with 4-Day Estimates on Monday, and Actuals on Tuesday)
1. "The Hangover Part II" (Warner Bros.), $86.5 million, $118.1 million, NEW
2. "Kung Fu Panda 2" (Paramount/DreamWorks), $48.0 million, $53.8 million, NEW
3. "Pirates...On Stranger Tides" (Buena Vista), $39.3 million, $152.9 million, 2 wks
4. "Bridesmaids" (Universal), $16.4 million, $85.0 million, 3 wks
5. "Thor" (Paramount), $9.4 million, $159.7 million, 4 wks
6. "Fast Five" (Universal), $6.6 million, $196.0 million, 5 wks
7. "Midnight In Paris" (Sony Classics), $1.92 million, $2.8 million, 2 wks
8. "Jumping The Broom" (TriStar/Sony/Columbia), $1.90 million, $34.2 million, 4 wks
9. "Something Borrowed" (Warner Bros.), $1.85 million, $34.8 million, 4 wks
10. "Rio" (20th Century Fox), $1.78, $134.8 million, 7 wks