The Hangover Part II: Did You Love It—or Not?

Moviegoers give critically trashed sequel their approval at Memorial Day weekend box office; comedy's grossed $137.4 million since opening Thursday

By Joal Ryan May 30, 2011 4:34 PMTags
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It was the most anticipated comedy of the summer. It was one of the most anticipated sequels of the summer. It was… Well, it was trashed by critics.

So, what did Memorial Day weekend moviegoers think of The Hangover Part II?

Per domestic estimates, they thought enough to buy $137.4 million worth of tickets.

The comedy started off hot, scoring the third-largest-ever Thursday opening day ($31.6 million), according to Box Office Mojo stats, and stayed hot, coming up with second-largest Friday-Sunday debut for an R-rated film ($86 million), and the fourth-largest, four-day Memorial Day take for any film ($105.8 million).  

And, yes, The Hangover Part II was bigger, much bigger, than The Hangover.

About the only thing Part II failed to do was hold onto the critical praise that earned Oscar buzz for its predecessor.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Part II's Tomatometer reading was down about 55 percent from the first film's. "Half-assed," "headache-inducing" and "unfunny" were among the not-safe-for-ad-copy blurbs.

But just go ask the members of the Wolfpack if they're feeling any pain.

Elsewhere, Kung Fu Panda 2, which was loved by the critics, by the way, is off to a so-so start domestically, considering its budget ($150 million), 3-D ticket prices and lineage.

In its first five days—Kung Fu Panda 2 also opened on Thursday—it's grossed about what the original made in three days. Still, it's a family movie, so it may well stick around.

Brad Pitt's The Tree of Life—or, as it's known to people who don't follow Brangelina and other important stuff, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life—was an art-house blockbuster. The Cannes prize-winner sold more than three times as many tickets at each of its four theaters than The Hangover Part II did at each of its bajillion locations. All told, through today, Tree of Life was off to a $488,920 domestic start.

Among the holdovers, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides fell, but not as far as you might have figured for a sequel with reviews even weaker than those for the new Hangover. Its worldwide haul should be at about $650 million.

Finally, who knew Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family and Robert Pattinson's Water for Elephants had so much in common? The films both dropped out of the Top 10 after five-weekend stays; they both departed with domestic box-office takes of $50-$55 million. 

Here's an updated look at the top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday numbers as compiled by Exhibitor Relations. Estimated grosses for the four-day holiday weekend are also included:

  1. The Hangover Part II, $86 million ($105.8 million Friday-Monday)
  2. Kung Fu Panda 2, $47.8 million ($62.2 million Friday-Monday)
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, $39.6 million ($50.4 million Friday-Monday)
  4. Bridesmaids, $16.6 million ($21 million Friday-Monday)
  5. Thor, $9.4 million ($12 million Friday-Monday)
  6. Fast Five, $6.4 million ($8.2 million Friday-Monday)
  7. Midnight in Paris, $1.93 million ($2.6 million Friday-Monday)
  8. Something Borrowed, $1.86 million ($2.3 million Friday-Monday)
  9. Rio, $1.83 million ($2.4 million Friday-Monday)
  10. Jumping the Broom, $1.83 million ($2.35 Friday-Monday)

(Originally published May 29, 2011, at 11:29 a.m. PT)