Just last weekend I was discussing a string of summers with record breaking releases, mentioning The Matrix Reloaded’s unprecedented opening for an R-rated film, and then the logarithmic original-to-sequel increase in returns from The Dark Knight a few years later. Well it turns out that it won’t be Pirates that really brings back those memories, at least not nearly as much as a sequel to what could have been an innocuous bro-comedy that become a phenomenon. It’s a rare thing, but suddenly Warner Brothers had a bulletproof money-making formula, and Todd Phillips has followed it to the T. The Hangover II broke opening day records for an R-rated comedy, and is ranking highly among… well, movie openings period. With college out for Memorial day and audiences fully on-board for the summer blockbuster season, we’re looking at upwards of $100m on top of the huge Thursday. Come Monday, the Wolfpack may have already hunted down something like $125 million dollars, maybe even more.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is the other large release, and something of a more traditional blockbuster of late: a celebrity packed, 3D, animated kid’s sequel. There’s a lot of adjectives in there that guarantee a buck or two, and blend that with the highly favorable goodwill left from the first film and you’ve got bank sir. The holiday weekend will open up the wallets wide, and there’s plenty of room for everyone to make lots and lots of money, so expect the Panda to make enough money to have been impressive on any weekend. This isn’t quite a phenomenon, but it’s sure thing for sure. Again, the extended weekend will leave us with a number bigger than most film’s entire theatrical run- possibly into the 9 digits.
Pirates will obviously be toppled by the two new guys, but don’t expect it to disappear. The swashbuckler will benefit from the holiday, same as everyone else and likely wrap up with a fairly decent hold considering the two new films dividing up audiences, and the loss of 3D screens. However, it is clear that circumstances and missed opportunities have ensured any chance at monolithic status for this sequel has long set sail.
I’m very interested to see how Bridesmaids holds up as a more traditionally percieved “real” raunch comedy tackles it. It will continue to make its money, but where in another year it might have started the path towards becoming a larger crossover hit, here it will simply hit a stride and be only a resounding success, rather than a holyshit success. It’s still got victory written all over it for everyone.
Big weekend. Big, big weekend. Go out and see a movie folks- there’s something for everyone right now, and some of them are actually kind of decent!
Here’s where I think we’ll stand Monday night (that’s a five-day for Hangover and Panda, a four day for everyone else), and while that’s kind of cheating, we’ll break it all down Sunday.
Hangover 2 ….. $127,000,000
Kung Fu Panda 2….. $99,000,000
Pirates 4 ….. $57,000,000
Bridesmaids ….. $16,500,000
Thor ….. $9,000,000
Come back Sunday to wonder what the fuck I was thinking with me.