Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 11:00AM
It's a surprising but encouraging start for The Hangover, the new Vegas buddy comedy that has been showered by enthusiastic reviews (like ours), as the film raced to a lead at the box office on Friday, beating expected weekend winner Up and more than doubling the business for its new competition, Land of the Lost.
The new estimates, released this morning by Box Office Mojo, show The
Hangover in the lead with a $16.3 million opening day. Considering almost every prediction showed the
comedy earning between $20 and $25 million for the entire three-day frame, I guess it's safe to say this
is going to be a major hit.
Up performed about as well as it was believed, with a showing in the $13 million range. Over the
course of the full weekend, the Pixar family movie could still topple The Hangover, but a lot of
that depends on how big the Saturday numbers are for the R-rated raunchfest. When we're not dealing with
an established product, whether it's a brand name like Pixar or a franchise movie with a track record, the
second day can be hard to predict when the first day bucks the trend. Maybe everyone rushed out to see
The Hangover yesterday and that accounts for the spike, or maybe it's going to do this for three
straight days. Tough to measure at this point.
Land of the Lost, however, will be a big flop, and sooner than most people expected. It will be
lucky to make $20 million this weekend, which would generally mean one-third of the domestic gross, but
comedies, for whatever reason, are less reliable in that regard when they open soft. It's almost like the
audience turns on them. So if it's a $20 million opening, it's probably a $50 million total gross, which
is about half the budget. Gulp. There's certainly no way Universal makes its money back in theatrical
releases when you add in the typical marketing budget for a summer movie.
One thing is for sure: Up will make around $40 million this weekend. As for The Hangover,
you'd have to assume a debut in the $30 millions, but if the business is strong - and the word of mouth
from last night will convert Saturday and Sunday male audiences on the fence between this weekend's two
comedies - it might be over $40 million itself, perhaps good enough for a surprising opening weekend win.