‘Hangover II’ Leads Record Memorial-Weekend Movie Sales

“The Hangover: Part II,” Warner Bros.’ raunchy comedy, led the box office to a Memorial Day weekend record, taking in $103.4 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales.

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.’s “Kung Fu Panda 2” and holdover “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” from Walt Disney Co. helped propel the 4-day total to $276.8 million, surpassing 2007’s $254.6 million, Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in a statement.

The R-rated “Hangover,” a follow-up to the 2009 hit, has generated $135 million for Time Warner Inc.’s film unit since opening on May 26. Its Friday-to-Sunday total of $86 million set a new mark for a comedy, besting “The Simpsons Movie,” and helped narrow 2011’s year-to-date decline in ticket sales.

“It’s doing more than doubling the first movie’s opening and that’s way more than you can ask for,” said Brandon Gray, president of researcher Box Office Mojo. He called the opening “sensational.”

The movie has a similar plot to the original. The main characters wake up in a hotel room after wild partying with little memory of what transpired the night before. As in the previous film, the friends are played by Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms.

“The Hangover: Part II” drew audiences even as poor reviews led to a 64 percent “rotten” rating on Rottentomatoes.com. “The Simpsons Movie” made $74 million in its three-day debut in 2007. “The Hangover” also had the highest-grossing R-rated movie opening, beating the $56.8 million set by “Sex and the City” in 2008, Hollywood.com said.

“Typically, comedy sequels struggle,” Gray said.

Estimate Surpassed

The movie cost $80 million to make, according to Box Office Mojo’s estimate. Gray had forecast it would earn $70 million in three days.

The original film cost $35 million and had sales of $45 million its opening weekend before generating $467.5 million worldwide for New York-based Time Warner.

The animated 3-D feature “Kung Fu Panda 2” opened in second place, earning $60.9 million in four days. Dragon Warrior Po, played by Jack Black, returns to battle a new villain, Shen, while discovering secrets about his past. The movie also features the voices of Angelina Jolie as Po’s ally, Tigress, and Gary Oldman playing Shen.

‘Panda,’ ‘Pirates’

“Kung Fu Panda 2” cost $150 million to make, according to Box Office Mojo’s estimate. The original “Kung Fu Panda” in 2008 went on to gross $631.7 million worldwide. Both were distributed for Glendale, California-based DreamWorks Animation by Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the fourth film in the Walt Disney Co. series, dropped to third place from first, with sales of $50 million over four days. The movie has taken in $163.6 million in the U.S. and Canada since May 20.

In “On Stranger Tides,” Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is enlisted in a search for the Fountain of Youth. Penelope Cruz co-stars as Angelica, a pirate determined to save the soul of Blackbeard from damnation. Geoffrey Rush returns as Sparrow’s rival, Barbossa, and Ian McShane plays Blackbeard.

“Bridesmaids,” from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, dropped to fourth from second with $20.7 million. The film, produced by Judd Apatow and starring Kristen Wiig, has had sales of $89.3 million in three weeks of release.

Year-to-Date Sales

The superhero saga “Thor,” from Disney’s Marvel unit and Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, was fifth, adding $12.1 million to bring its total to $162.4 million in four weeks.

The U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend is one of the summer film season’s biggest for moviegoers. Revenue for the top 12 movies rose 46 percent to $268.2 million from the year-ago four- day period, Hollywood.com said.

Sales for the year to date remain down 8.4 percent. Attendance is off 9.7 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for May 27 to May 30. Percentage change column represents three-day sales versus previous week.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
1 HANGOVER: PART 2    $103.4   3,615  $28,610   --   $135.0   1
2 KUNG FU PANDA 2       60.9   3,925   15,509   --     66.7   1
3 PIRATES OF CARIBBEAN  50.0   4,164   12,011   -56   163.6   2
4 BRIDESMAIDS           20.7   2,958    7,010   -21    89.3   3
5 THOR                  12.1   3,296    3,665   -38   162.4   4
6 FAST FIVE              7.9   2,981    2,647   -39   197.3   5
7 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS      2.6      58   44,055   222     3.5   2
8 RIO                    2.4   1,672    1,461   -61   135.5   7
8 JUMPING THE BROOM      2.4     939    2,540   -51    34.7   4
9 SOMETHING BORROWED     2.3   1,440    1,582   -47    35.2   4
10 PRIEST                2.2   1,918    1,140   -63    27.7   3
12 WATER FOR ELEPHANTS   1.4     794    1,732   -50    54.7   6


Top 12 Films Grosses:

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
     $268.2        $184.2      +46


Year-to-date Revenue:

     2011          2010
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
   $4,015.4     $4,382.0      -8.4

Year-to-date Attendance:      -9.7%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Allison Bennett in New York at abennett23@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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