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Critics be darned it seems. The Hangover Part II triumphed despite bad scores from movie reviewers and broke records in the process. As far as R-rated comedies go, the Wolfpack set the bar with a $10 million early morning launch. It added $86.5 million to the money chest through the traditional weekend earning it the number one spot at $118.1 million in four days. It’s good to be a foul-mouthed drunk with a monkey in Thailand these days.
In the competition of sequels, there has to be a loser. Look to one fat panda for that. Kung Fu Panda 2 wowed those in the movie business, but average Joe, his wife and kids passed. Mundane doesn’t work with the family audience. The sequel earned $48 million over the three days and $53.8 million thus far. This year the biggest hits up until the end of April were animated pictures including Rango, Gnomeo and Juliet, and Rio. All good trends must come to an end. Nevertheless, "Panda" is set to do well for itself long-term.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides dropped 56 percent in its second week. The domestic booty stands at $152.9 million after an additional $39 million was captured. Bridesmaids did the opposite, having a teensy 21 percent drop from last week. Its $16 million gift will soon push the not-so-average chick flick past the $100 million milestone.
Midnight in Paris jumped into the top 10 after debuting at 13th last week. Woody Allen’s recent critical hit added $1.9 million to its account. Tree of Life offered additional indie fare to four lucky locations. It grossed a respectable $0.35 million, enough for 16th place. Thor, Fast Five, and the few also-rans round out the rest of the charts having done typical business. Fast Five nears $200 million while Thor sits at $160 million.
The Top Ten (Friday-Sunday)
1. The Hangover Part II - $86.4M (weekend)…$118.1M (gross)
2. Kung Fu Panda 2 - $48.0M…$53.8M
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - $39.3M…$152.9M
4. Bridesmaids - $16.3M…$84.9M
5. Thor - $9.3M…$159.7M
6. Fast Five - $6.6M…$196.0M
7. Midnight in Paris - $1.9M …$2.8M
8. Jumping the Broom - $1.9M…$34.1M
9. Something Borrowed - $1.8M…$34.7M
10. Rio - $1.7M …$134.8M
X-Men: First Class headlines next weekend. It has a solo debut at 3,400 theaters across the United States. The prequel does have a bit of competition, however, given the overwhelming response to The Hangover Part II. Fox executives can take a breath and wipe their brows knowing the early response from critics for "First Class" has been overwhelmingly positive (though it’s questionable if that’s a good thing). 100 percent of reviewers thus far have certified the movie fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet, critics don’t always get their way when it comes to the biggest tentpoles. Thor opened with strong reviews and it was a relative disappointment. When an earlier effort bombs, fans take note and react warily. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is proof positive of that.
The first X-Men, in 2000, grossed $157 million. That was in the early days of the superhero and comic book craze. It’s first sequel, X2: X-Men United, earned $214 million domestic. It was a critical hit, unlike the final film in the trilogy, “The Last Stand,” which actually out-grossed it at $234 million after a $102-million start. In its last spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hugh Jackman and company basically sank opportunities for any other solo origins films. It wasn’t that it made the equivalent of lint at the box office. It actually opened with a rabid $85 million start and fizzled out around $180 million. It made the same overseas, more than doubling its budget. Still, with such a beloved character and a massive marketing campaign, that was not enough. The movie so grieved its star that he sought Darren Aronofsky to direct a reboot. That fell through, but Jackman and Fox are considering no less than eight potential directors to get the story off the ground.
“First Class” should top the box office, with a $65 to $85 million start. Prove me wrong this Friday, June 3.