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Weekend Wrap-Up: A Memorial Day To Remember?

May 31st, 2011

Records were broken on Memorial Day long weekend, which makes the weekend one to remember. Ironic then that the biggest hit of the weekend was a film about people who can't remember the night before. Yes, The Hangover 2 easily took top spot, while Kung Fu Panda 2 was disappointingly far behind. On the other hand, it still earned more than last year's number one film, Shrek Forever After, so it at least pulled its weight. Overall, the three-day box office was a very healthy $223 million, or 33% more than last weekend and 47% more than the same weekend last year. Over four days, the box office pulled in $277 million, or 44% more than last year. Those figures were both records for biggest Memorial Day long weekend ever, crushing 2007's offering by $22 million. Year-to-date, 2011 now has $4.02 billion and has cut the gap with 2010 to just over 8% at $4.38 billion. If the rest of the summer is as strong as May was, we could be in good shape going into the fall.

Being just more of the same wasn't a problem for The Hangover 2, which set records for highest midnight showing for an R-rated film, biggest opening weekend for an R-rated comedy, and biggest weekend for any comedy. Over the three-day weekend the film earned $85.95 million, and from Thursday through Monday, it managed $135.04 million. To put this into perspective, it wasn't until the original film's 16th day of release that it crossed that mark. Even with the much weaker reviews, the Sequel Effect, etc., The Hangover 2 might end its run with more than the first film made, which means a third film is likely. I just hope they try to do something new, instead of practically remaking the first movie, again.

Kung Fu Panda 2's opening was disappointing, to say the least. Sequels usually open bigger, but fall faster. This film missed the opening weekend of the original by a pretty big margin at $47.66 million to $60.24 million. Even over five days, it barely topped the original with $66.68 million. The film's reviews are great, and perhaps its legs will be better people were expecting, but it is very unlikely the film will match the original. That said, unless it cost an unreasonable amount to make, it should break even by the time it reaches the home market.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides held on better than expected with $39.83 million over the three-day weekend and $50.01 million including Monday. This lifts its running tally to $163.61 million after just eleven days of release. Unfortunately, after a weaker-than-expected opening, this is still lower than anticipated and with the weakest reviews in the franchise, and even more direct competition opening next weekend, it's unlikely to turn things around. On the other hand, international numbers will save this film in the end.

Bridesmaids added $16.55 million / $20.74 million to its running tally, which now sits at $89.34 million. By this time next week, it should be over $100 million, making it just the ninth film of 2011 to hit that target.

Thor earned $9.53 million / $12.08 million over the weekend for a total of $162.44 million after close to a month of release. At this pace, it should have no trouble getting to its original expectations, but it will fall out of the top five before then.

The last film of note was Midnight in Paris, which shot into seventh place with $1.93 million / $2.55 million over the weekend for a still very early total of $3.46 million. Since it is still only playing in 58 theaters, it has massive room to grow. And since it has a per theater average north of $30,000, it will have plenty of theater owners interested in booking it. At this point it is no longer a question of if the film will earn some measure of mainstream success, but how far up the list of Woody Allen's all-time biggest box office hits it will climb. Last year's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger has already been overtaken.

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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Thor, The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris, X-Men: First Class