- The Hangover Part II box office: Todd Phillips’ critically lambasted sequel to the 2009 sleeper blockbuster The Hangover is about to become an even bigger hit than the original. Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha are all back.
- Update: The Hangover Part II did become a far bigger global hit than the original even while ultimately trailing its predecessor in the domestic market.
The Hangover Part II box office: Todd Phillips’ critically panned comedy sequel on its way to becoming an even bigger hit than the original
May 27–30 (Memorial Day) weekend box office: Reuniting The Hangover director Todd Phillips with actors Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha, Warner Bros.’ critically panned (see further below), R-rated comedy sequel The Hangover Part II easily topped the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart, grossing $103.4 million from 3,615 theaters over the four-day Memorial Day weekend ($85.9 million Fri.-Sun.) according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
It should be noted that The Hangover Part II’s four-day figure was about $2.5 million below the studio’s estimates.
Oh, so the sequel is a box office disappointment then?
(Don’t take it personally, but) are you insane?
The Hangover Part II is obviously on its way to box office blockbusterdom. In fact, Todd Phillips’ sequel would surely have boasted the biggest opening weekend of 2011 if it hadn’t been released at midnight Wednesday: On its first three days (Thu.–Sat., including the aforementioned Wed. midnight screenings), The Hangover Part II pulled in $91.3 million, thus beating Rob Marshall’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ $90.2 million (Fri.-Sun., including Thu. midnight screenings).
And let’s not forget that The Hangover Part II broke the R-rated midnight record set by Paranormal Activity 2’s $6.3 million last year.
Immediately below we put things a bit more in perspective.
Ahead of or behind Memorial Day weekend record-holder Bruce Almighty?
In the live-action comedy “genre,” the previous Memorial Day weekend record-holder was the Jim Carrey star vehicle Bruce Almighty, which earned $85.7 million back in 2003. Adjusted for inflation – around $112 million in 2011 – Bruce Almighty would actually remain ahead of The Hangover Part II.
So the Todd Phillips sequel is kind of a disappointment when compared to the Jim Carrey original?
Well, let’s add a little more context: Bruce Almighty opened on a Friday, whereas The Hangover Part II was out on Thursday (or rather, at midnight Wednesday). Thus, if we do a “first four days” comparison, The Hangover Part II ends up ahead of Bruce Almighty: $117.6 million vs. (inflation-adjusted) $112 million.
Indeed, even while taking inflation into account The Hangover Part II debuted ahead of every comedy in recent memory – quite possibly ever. After all, movies opening at 3,000+ theaters was something unheard of prior to the mid-1990s.
Biggest comedy debut ever?
Here are a couple more brief comparisons: In its first five days out (Thu.–Mon.) The Hangover Part II brought in $135 million domestically. The next comedy on the North American Top Five-Day Chart, Jay Roach’s Austin Powers in Goldmember, earned $92.4 million in 2002, or approximately $125 million today. The year before, Brett Ratner’s Rush Hour 2 scored $85.7 million, or about $119 million today.
A bit more context:
- Gore Verbinki’s 2007 fantasy swashbuckler Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (which debuted on Thursday evening) holds the four-day (Fri.-Mon.) Memorial Day weekend record (not adjusted for inflation): $139.8 million.
- The Wachowskis’ 2003 sci-fi actioner The Matrix Reloaded (which debuted on Wednesday evening) holds the domestic opening-weekend (Fri.-Sun.) record (not adjusted for inflation) among R-rated releases: $91.8 million in mid-May 2003.
Sequel vs. original
Lastly, here’s a brief comparison to the original: The Hangover opened domestically with $45 million from 3,269 locations in June 2009, ending its run with a far-bigger-than-expected $277.3 million, in addition to $192 million internationally. Worldwide total: $469.3 million. Budget: A relatively modest $35 million.
The Hangover Part II reportedly cost a far heftier $80 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses). Even so, it’s bound to become a hugely profitable hit.
Ah, something else: The original The Hangover had a 77 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics.” The sequel has an embarrassing 21 percent.
Besides Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha as the quartet of friends traveling to Bangkok for Helms’ wedding, The Hangover Part II features Ken Jeong, Jeffrey Tambor, Jamie Chung, Sasha Barrese, Mason Lee, and Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man, 2005).
Global blockbuster – except in Asia
Update: Todd Phillips’ The Hangover Part II ultimately collected $254.5 million domestically and an estimated $332.3 million internationally. Worldwide total: $586.8 million.
In sum: Though a major box office hit, the sequel ended up behind the original in the domestic market – yet it fared far, far better internationally, something unusual for an American comedy. Its global gross was an extremely profitable one.
Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($53.5 million), Germany ($42.2 million), Australia ($35.4 million), France ($23.2 million), Brazil ($16.9 million), Italy ($13.5 million), Russia/CIS ($13.3 million), Mexico ($12.2 million), Spain ($10.3 million), and The Netherlands (making a rare appearance among the Top Ten with $8.7 million).
The less-than-stellar side: As found at Box Office Mojo, The Hangover Part II took in a mediocre $854,300 in Thailand, where much of the action is set. The comedy’s top Asian market was Taiwan, with a modest $2.8 million.
“The Hangover Part II Box Office” endnotes
Also this past Memorial Day weekend, DreamWorks Animation’s sequel Kung Fu Panda 2, featuring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Dustin Hoffman, was the (disappointing) no. 2 title in the U.S. and Canada. Further down the chart, Terrence Malick’s psychological/existential drama The Tree of Life had an impressive debut in limited release. Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain star.
Unless otherwise noted, “The Hangover Part II Box Office: Sequel Ultimately Trails Original Domestically” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about The Hangover Part II and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Lastly, although a more accurate reflection of a film’s popularity (i.e., its number of tickets sold), inflation-adjusted estimates should be taken with extreme caution. For instance, they’re based on average domestic ticket prices (via the National Association of Theater Owners, unless otherwise noted) whereas numerous major releases scored a large chunk of their box office take at top-priced venues.
Jamie Chung, Justin Bartha, and Bradley Cooper The Hangover Part II movie images: Melinda Sue Gordon | Warner Bros.
“The Hangover Part II Box Office: Sequel Ultimately Trails Original Domestically” last updated in February 2023.
It’s no surprise that the hangover 2 is doing so well it was absolutely hilarious!
Congratulations once again!