'Hangover' lingers with record $105.8M weekend

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By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES  — Hollywood has hustled up a hangover for the record books.
“The Hangover Part II” set a new high for comedy debuts with $105.8 million over the long Memorial Day weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The blockbuster sequel also led Hollywood to a new revenue record of around $280 million for the holiday weekend, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
That surpassed the previous record of $254.6 million in 2007. But factoring in today’s higher admission prices, more tickets were sold over the Memorial Day holiday that year than this past weekend.
“The Hangover Part II” raised its domestic haul to $137.4 million since opening Thursday, nearly half the business the 2009 original movie did over its entire run. The sequel has added $60.3 million more in 40 countries overseas.
“If you can enjoy a hangover, this is one to enjoy,” said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which releases “The Hangover” flicks. “People love these characters. They can do no wrong.”
The movie reunites stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis as they awake in another haze and attempt to piece together the mayhem of their drunken night in Bangkok.
Opening at No. 2 behind “The Hangover Part II” was another sequel, DreamWorks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 2,” with $62.2 million.
The first “Kung Fu Panda” did almost the same business in just a normal three-day weekend, but DreamWorks hits tend to have a long shelf life at the box office.
“There’s no other animation for four weeks. We think we’ve got a lot of good play time still ahead,” said Anne Globe, head of marketing for DreamWorks Animation.
“Kung Fu Panda 2” has pulled in $68 million domestically since its Thursday debut and added $57 million more in 11 overseas markets, including $18.5 million in China.
The animated sequel again pairs voice stars Jack Black and Angelina Jolie as the menagerie of martial-arts heroes takes on a villain aiming to conquer ancient China using gunpowder and cannons.
Slipping from first-place to third in its second weekend was Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which took in $50.4 million.
The Disney release lifted its domestic booty to $164 million. The “Pirates” sequel remained No. 1 overseas with $137.1 million from Friday to Monday, raising its worldwide total to $649.1 million.
Hollywood’s $280 million haul for the four-day weekend was a huge leap above last year’s Memorial Day holiday, when “Shrek Forever After” led with $57.1 million. Business was up 45 percent from the lackluster 2010 holiday weekend, when revenues came in at just $192.5 million.
In barely a month, Hollywood has hurtled out of a box-office slide that lingered all winter, when revenues were down as much as 23 percent compared to the previous year’s.
“Hollywood is back with a vengeance,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “We always knew there were big movies on the horizon coming to save the day, and it looks like that’s what’s happening so far this summer.”
Revenues still are down 8.3 percent compared to 2010’s, but studio executives expect to erase that deficit with an upcoming summer lineup that includes “Harry Potter,” ‘’Transformers” and “Cars” sequels.