'The Hangover Part II' wakes up to $10.4 million from midnight screenings
Audiences enjoyed a late-night party with the boys of "The Hangover." The sequel to the surprise 2009 comedy hit opened in 2,600 theaters just after midnight on Thursday and raked in $10.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros.
That's a very strong early showing for an R-rated comedy. For instance, "Sex and the City 2," another R-rated comedy that opened on Memorial Day weekend last year, only took in $3 million in post-midnight screenings.
Of course, it's still not as big as movies with huge built-in fan bases such as the "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" series. Last year's "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" grossed more than $30 million from late-night screenings after midnight on a Wednesday in June 2010, an all-time record. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which opened in summer 2009, collected $22.2 million from midnight ticket sales.
Typically, grosses from midnight showings indicate strong fan interest in a film. People who have seen pre-release audience surveys believe "The Hangover Part II" could sell between $125 million and $160 million worth of tickets by Monday, a record-breaking figure for an R-rated comedy. Warner has a more conservative estimate of between $90 million and $100 million. If late-night screenings were any indication, however, the studio's prediction will turn out to be low.
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: (From left) Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis star in "The Hangover Part II." Credit: Warner Bros.