The box office results for the weekend of May 27th – 29th sees the “Hangover II” pack remembering at least one thing…how to attain profits at the B.O. When factoring in the Memorial Day weekend movie-going atmosphere, the sequel to the breakout 2009 comedic giant, is poised to make a run for top grossing flick in 2011 on the domestic side. Meanwhile, “Kung Fu Panda 2” looks to be a forgotten treasure at the moment. Here are the studio estimates:

1. The Hangover Part II ($86.4 million)

2. Kung Fu Panda 2 ($48 million)

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($39.3 million)

4. Bridesmaids ($16.4 million)

5. Thor ($9.3 million)

6. Fast Five ($6.6 million)

7. Jumping the Broom ($1.9 million)

8. Something Borrowed ($1.8 million)

9. Rio ($1.7 million)

10. Priest ($1.7 million)

Analysis

It goes without saying (but we’ll do it anyway) that “The Hangover Part II” is flirting with a few B.O. records. Realistically, the flick could snag one of the biggest Memorial Day opening weekends of all-time ($139.8 is the record held by “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”). When factoring in all-time three-day totals for a comedy, this already surpassed previous record holder “Austin Powers’ Goldmember” ($73 million). Since opening on Thursday, forecasters are saying the 5-day total could yield a domestic total of around $140 million after the holiday weekend concludes. The only sour news Warner Bros. is dealing with is how the vast majority of critics are unimpressed with the sequel. If this pattern bleeds over into the word-of-mouth via the audiences, uh, it really won’t matter. Why? Well, from a profit standpoint, this installment will have already doubled its $78 million production budget. So even if the audiences agree with the lovely critics, the only thing that will occur is that the sequel will not top the original.

“Kung Fu Panda 2’s” modest opening can be attributed to many things. Stiff competition from Pirates and Hangover; the scaled back promotion from the studio; or this author’s hypothesis: Parents are putting their needs in front of their kids. In other words, since the first Hangover film won over a ton of people, most parents are holding off in rushing the kiddies to the theaters for exorbitant 3D ticket prices this weekend; and are indulging themselves with the “Wolf Pack.” Paying a babysitter and buying a ticket to see “Hangover 2” is probably slightly cheaper than a family trip to the theater with “Kung Fu Panda.” DreamWorks Animation dropped $150 million on this critically praised sequel. And with no other true family comedy on the horizon for a few weeks, this flick should hang around the top ten. As of right now though, international totals will have to help this piece out.

“Rio” currently has the longest streak in the top ten with 7 weeks. Domestically, the 3D animation is now up to $135 million. Worldwide total is at a monstrous $450 million.

Flop Alert: “Priest.” Even with a healthy assist from the overseas market, The 3D action/horror product currently sits at $63 million. The budget for this mislabeled summer blockbuster was $60 million. Screen Gems is banking on a decent DVD and On-Demand run to help this title see the light (black ink).

Sleeper Hit: Though “Thor” didn’t light up the domestic box office as much as people expected, the international realm has been kind in guiding this to worldwide cume of over $400 million. Paramount spent $150 million on this bad boy comic.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” plummeted 56% from its opening weekend. By the end of Memorial Day weekend, its domestic gross will be sitting around $160 million. And that just seems somewhat miniscule when compared to what its predecessors accomplished.

This Friday’s release schedule is kind of a summer rarity. One major property in “X-Men: First Class” arrives in over 3,400 theaters. Other than that, a slew of limited features from the smaller studios (IFC, Magnolia, etc.) hit select markets. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers.

Report by Joe Belcastro

Cooper in Hangover 2
Yep, it happened again ($$$)

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By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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