Warner's The Hangover Part II lived up to its lofty expectations and then some this weekend with an estimated four-day holiday weekend gross of $105.77 million. After a terrific opening day of $31.61 million on Thursday, the five-day start for The Hangover Part II now stands at $137.38 million. The five-day start of The Hangover Part II was just 5 percent below that of 2003's The Matrix Reloaded ($144.39 million) and 10 percent below that of 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($151.96 million). The Hangover Part II registered the fourth largest four-day Memorial Day weekend gross on record. The audience breakdown for The Hangover Part II was almost evenly split between genders (it skewed 51 percent female) and skewed towards moviegoers under 25 (54 percent). Clearly the comedy sequel was the must-see event of the summer so far for older teens and young adults.
For the three-day frame of Friday to Sunday, The Hangover Part II grossed an estimated $86.04 million. That represented the largest unadjusted opening weekend ever for a live-action comedy (topping the $73.07 million start of 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember). Other notable opening weekend accomplishments for The Hangover Part II included the second largest unadjusted debut for an R-rated film (behind only The Matrix Reloaded) and the third largest opening weekend of 2011 thus far (behind only Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Fast Five).
On the international front, The Hangover Part II grossed $60.25 million from 40 foreign markets over the three-day weekend. That already places the film's worldwide total at $197.7 million. Key debuts included $16.4 million in the United Kingdom, $11.6 million in Australia, $5.8 million in France, $4.7 million in Italy and $3.2 million in Mexico.
Kung Fu Panda 2 opened in a distant second place with an estimated four-day weekend of $62.20 million. The 3D computer animated sequel from Paramount and DreamWorks Animation has grossed $68.00 million through five days of release. Given that 2008's Kung Fu Panda grossed $60.24 million in its first three days of release (and without the aid of 3D surcharges), the five-day start of Kung Fu Panda 2 has to be seen as an underwhelming one. At the end of the day, any break-out potential for Kung Fu Panda 2 was severely limited by the dominance of The Hangover Part II with older teens and by the competition for family audiences from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Kung Fu Panda 2 skewed towards male moviegoers (54 percent) and moviegoers under 25 (53 percent). The film did hold up well as the weekend went on, which could transfer into strong holding power going forward from now until June 24 when Disney's Cars 2 enters the marketplace.
Continuing the common trend of the summer so far, the international news was much better for Kung Fu Panda 2 this weekend. The film opened with a very impressive $57.0 million from just 11 foreign markets over the three-day frame, placing its worldwide total at $125.0 million. Key grosses included $18.5 million in China, $15.0 million and Russia and $13.0 million in Korea. Kung Fu Panda 2 will continue its international roll-out throughout much of the summer.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides took third place with an estimated four-day take of $50.37 million. The big-budget sequel starring Johnny Depp fell 46 percent from last weekend's three-day debut, which was a very respectable hold when considering the magnitude of the new competition it faced this weekend. On Stranger Tides has grossed $163.97 million domestically through ten days of release, which is in line with pre-release expectations and places it 12 percent ahead of the pace of last year's Shrek Forever After.
On Stranger Tides continued its simply massive international performance this weekend with an estimated $135.0 million from Friday through Monday. That places the film's international total at $482.9 million and worldwide total at $646.9 million. Thanks to its international performance, On Strangers Tides is currently the highest grossing release of 2011 worldwide.
Sony Pictures Classics' Midnight in Paris and Fox Searchlight's The Tree of Life both had impressive performances on the platform front. The Woody Allen directed Midnight in Paris grossed an estimated $2.61 million over the four-day frame from just 58 locations, giving it a per-location average of $45,081. Midnight in Paris placed in seventh this weekend and has now grossed $3.52 million through eleven days of platform release. Meanwhile, the Terrence Malick directed The Tree of Life grossed an estimated $488,920 from just 4 locations in New York and Los Angeles, for a per-location average of $122,230. Both films will expand into additional markets next weekend.
This weekend's estimated four-day combined box office take of $283 million set a new record for the largest Memorial Day weekend on record. The previous record was the $255.5 million four-day gross of 2007. However, 2004 still holds the Memorial Day weekend record when adjusting for ticket price inflation with an adjusted total of $313.4 million from an actual total gross of $247.6 million.