ORIGINAL POST: The Wolf Pack is a force to be reckoned with, as The Hangover Part II consumed $86.5 million over the three-day weekend (Friday to Sunday), according to studio estimates. That’s the best three-day weekend ever for a live-action comedy, beating Austin Powers in Goldmember‘s $73.1 million debut. It’s also the second-best opening for an R-rated film, topping The Passion of the Christ but falling short of The Matrix Reloaded. The $80 million sequel, produced by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, is now on pace to finish the four-day holiday weekend with about $106 million. Throw in its massive $31.6 million opening on Thursday, and The Hangover Part II is looking at an estimated five-day total of $137.6 million. By comparison, the original Hangover made less than half that amount, grabbing $59.2 million its first five days.

DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 is off to a mildly disappointing start, as the animated martial-arts comedy grossed $48 million over the three-day weekend. That’s a step down from the 2008 original, which debuted to $60.2 million (and did so without the benefit of 3-D surcharges). Screenings in 3-D accounted for only 45 percent of Panda‘s revenue, tying Despicable Me for the lowest 3-D percentage for a major release since the start of 2009. (It should be noted that Panda‘s 3-D figure would have been stronger had the film also played on IMAX 3D screens) The $150 million sequel, which is being distributed by Paramount, should tally $62 million for the four-day holiday weekend, bringing its five-day total to about $68 million.

In third place, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides dropped 56 percent for a three-day weekend gross of $39.3 million. Bridesmaids slipped only 22 percent for $16.4 million, which is particularly impressive considering that the R-rated comedy had to compete with The Hangover Part II. And in fifth, Thor fell 39 percent for $9.4 million.

In limited release, it was a great weekend for auteurs. Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or-winning drama The Tree of Life debuted to $352,000 from four theaters, averaging a towering $88,000 per location. And Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris expanded to 58 theaters and rose to seventh place with $1.9 million. Check back here on Monday for the complete box office report.

Estimates for the three-day weekend (Friday to Sunday):

1. The Hangover Part II — $86.5 mil

2. Kung Fu Panda 2 — $48.0 mil

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — $39.3 mil

4. Bridesmaids — $16.4 mil

5. Thor — $9.4 mil

More movie links from EW:

The Hangover
  • Movie
  • 99 minutes