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Movie projector: 'Hangover' giving the rest of Hollywood the headache that just won't quit

June 11, 2009 |  1:41 pm

HangZach "The Hangover's" first-place finish last weekend was surprise enough, but this week it's setting records.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' R-rated comedy earned $7.7 million at the box office on Monday, $6.6 million Tuesday, and $6.7 million on Wednesday. Those are the biggest weekday grosses, excluding holidays, for any movie this year, higher than even huge event films such as "Star Trek" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." With $65.9 million in its first six days, the $35-million budget picture is on track to gross well over $150 million before it finishes its domestic run and could even top $200 million.

And "Hangover" is likely to be No. 1 again this coming weekend. Based on its awesome weekday grosses and its strong Sunday, Hollywood executives who track box office are expecting a very small drop for  the bachelor-party-in-Vegas movie. If it follows the pattern of the last smash hit R-rated summer comedy, "Wedding Crashers," it could decline as little as 25%. A gross of more than $30 million is very likely, which means it could top $100 million within its first 10 days.

Neither of the weekend's new movies will have a big debut. The remake of "The Taking of Pelham 123," which Sony Pictures co-financed with Relativity Media at a cost of more than $100 million, is looking at a relatively soft start in the mid-$20-million range, where it will probably come in No. 3 behind Disney and Pixar's "Up."

PelhamTravolta In a year that has been tough for adult-targeted thrillers in the U.S. and Canada, as evidenced by the weak domestic performances of films such as  "State of Play" and "Angels and Demons," "Pelham 123" is unlikely to reverse that trend.

Its prospects are better overseas, where the star power of John Travolta and Denzel Washington could drive it to a bigger gross. The film rolls out in foreign countries gradually over the summer.

Paramount's Eddie Murphy vehicle "Imagine That" is looking at a truly dismal start. The $55-million movie is expected to gross only about $10 million, with audiences primarily made up of young girls and African Americans. It will be one of the very few family comedies to flop in a year when almost every film in the genre has been successful.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo (top): Zach Galifianakis in "The Hangover." Credit: Frank Masi / Warner Bros.
Photo (bottom): John Travolta in "The Taking of Pelham 123." Credit: Stephen Vaughan / Sony Pictures