The first Hangover opened at $45 million two years ago. The Hangover Part II, which tells (almost) exactly the same story (and jokes), only this time in Bangkok, could likely open with twice that amount, closer to $100 million, over the Memorial Day weekend. Despite iffy buzz and a controversy over a smoking chimp (was he trained to inhale or not?), the Todd Phillips comedy reuniting Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis will likely be No. 1 at the box office this weekend, which officially starts Thursday, as the Hangover and Kung Fu Panda sequels look to get a jump on holiday weekend moviegoing. Here are our predictions for what to expect for the five-day frame:
1. The Hangover Part II: $92 million.
It’s Memorial Day weekend. What better way to celebrate the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform than by joining the Wolfpack in Thailand for Stu’s wedding, and another morning-after misadventure? The first Hangover went on to gross $277 million, making it the biggest R-rated comedy ever. We’re guessing the sequel will fall short of that total, with a big drop off next weekend, but for now, it’s party time!
2. Kung Fu Panda 2. $81 million
The first Panda grossed $60 million in 2008, earning a total of $215 million domestically. With Jack Black once again voicing the cartoon bear, and Angelina Jolie voicing a tiger, we’re not going out on a limb by predicting a powerful second place finishing, and the best animated opening of the year.
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: $55 million
It took first place last weekend, with $90 million, but it was the weakest opening weekend for the franchise since the first Pirates. Expect the wind to fall out of its sails this weekend.
4. Bridesmaids: $15 million
It opened at $26 million, dropped only 20 percent to $20.8 million its second weekend. We’re betting good word of mouth will keep business brisk for the R-rated wedding comedy on its third weekend. Plus, it may pick up overflow from sold-out Hangover showings.
5. Thor: $10 million
It dropped over 55 percent last weekend, only grossing $15 million. This weekend — its fourth — should really bring the hammer down.
The Tree of Life, the Cannes Film Festival-winning Terrence Malick 1950s family drama starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, will also open in limited release this weekend in four locations.