Warner's The Hangover Part II simply dominated Thursday's box office with an opening day take of $31.61 million. The highly anticipated comedy sequel delivered the third largest Thursday debut of all-time, behind only 2005's Revenge of the Sith ($50.01 million) and 2003's The Matrix Reloaded ($37.51 million). The Hangover Part II opened 26 percent stronger than the $25.04 million Thursday debut of 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and 136 percent stronger than the $13.37 million Thursday debut of 2009's Terminator Salvation. The opening day performance of The Hangover Part II was even more impressive when taking into account its R rating. The film registered the second largest opening day of all-time for an R rated film, behind only The Matrix Reloaded.
The estimated midnight gross of $10.4 million did account for an especially high 32.9 percent of the opening day gross of The Hangover Part II. That does signal that there is the potential of early front-loading for the film. However, even if that is the case this weekend, The Hangover Part II will still be on pace for a massive first place victory over the four-day holiday frame given the scope of Thursday's start.
Kung Fu Panda 2 opened in a distant second place with an estimated $5.80 million. That represented a soft start for the computer animated sequel from Paramount and DreamWorks Animation, as the film's opening day gross was in the same neighborhood as the seventh-day, first-Thursday grosses of 2007's Shrek the Third ($5.86 million) and last year's Shrek Forever After ($4.45 million) as they headed into their respective second weekends of release.
Yesterday's performance is an early sign that Kung Fu Panda 2 is appealing almost entirely to family audiences so far, an audience that would obviously be limited on a Thursday in May from schools still being in session. With that in mind, Kung Fu Panda 2 should be able to pick up greatly as the holiday weekend goes on. Nonetheless, it will still be quite the task for the film to completely make up for Thursday's start this weekend, especially in light of the continued initial rush-out of adults to The Hangover Part II.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides fell two spots to take third place on Thursday. However, with a daily gross of $4.54 million, Disney's big-budget sequel fell just 3 percent from Wednesday. That represented a strong daily hold for the film, especially given the amount of new competition that entered the marketplace on Thursday and the fact that On Stranger Tides didn't hold up especially well on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was the week's top film with a seven-day start of $113.60 million. The film was a far bigger powerhouse internationally this week.
Holding up even better was Universal's Bridesmaids. The break-out comedy was up 2 percent over Wednesday, which was especially impressive in the midst of the opening day performance of The Hangover Part II. Yesterday's hold strongly suggests that Bridesmaids will continue to display strong holding power over the holiday weekend. Bridesmaids grossed $30.15 million for the week, which was down a slim 22 percent from the film's opening week performance and places the film's two-week total at a much better than expected $68.61 million.