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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Hangover At Midnight

I’m loading up with another look at summer today, but in the meanwhile, I though I’d note the reported $10.4 million 12:01a launch of The Hangover, Part II.

Besides setting a record for R-rated Midnight launches, the number suggests that the Thursday opening will surely break the $20m mark and could even hit $30m. Even at $20m, it would be the #5 Thursday opening of all-time, after 2 Star Wars, a Matrix, and Indiana Jones 4.

Of course, there are studios out there who would try to spin a $10.4m Midnight launch as underperforming. This would be obvious spin.

All this said, Hangover is still not a lock to win the 5-day weekend vs Panda 2, though it’s looking pretty good. Both films are looking to step up in class, with Panda 1 having opened to a $60 million 3-day and Hangover 1 having opened to $45m. Both films are also moving from the first week of June in their previous incarnations to the Memorial Day power slot.

There is something a little creepy about looking back at Summer 2003, when both Matrix Reloaded and Finding Nemo, R-rated and animated predecessors to this weekend’s new combatants launched. Also opening that summer were a Pirates, an X-Men, and A Fast/Furious film. Deja vu all over again. Also that summer, the only comedy that The Hangover couldn’t top… on Memorial Day Weekend… Bruce Almighty.

Anyway…

The only $100m 5-day openings for animation are two Shreks and Toy Story 3, all over $128m in 5. Do we think KFP is now in that class? No. Next on the list is $84m in 5 for Finding Nemo. Given frontloading as sequelitis, KFP2 could beat that number. But $100m would be a new landmark.

$100m in 5 for The Hangover, Part Ii seems assured now. The question is, how high will it go? Indy 4 is really the only film with a 5 day that took advantage of both opening a day early and having Memorial Day Monday on the other end. $152 million in 5. $127m, Fri-Mon. There are only three films to do a Memorial Day 4-day of over $90.2 million… Pirates, 2, Indy 4, and X3. Bruce Almighty did $85m in 4 in 2003.

I like Hangover 2 to just beat Bruce with $89m in 4… and $114m in 5… which btw, is within $4m of my guess for the film’s open that I made 3+ weeks ago. I also predicted an $85m launch for Panda 2 back then… and while it might be a smidgen low… feels pretty close still.

17 Responses to “Hangover At Midnight”

  1. Jason says:

    DP, I agree with you on Hangover. But Panda is going to be huge. It will surpass $128m for 5-day. Thur and Fri might be muted (in terms of blockbuster openings), but it could pull $30m (or average) each on Sat-Sun-Mon.

  2. David Poland says:

    God bless it if it’s that much in Shrek and Toy Story territory. Don’t see it. But I’ve been wrong before.

  3. LexG says:

    Wait, Hangover opens TODAY? On a Thursday?

    What is THAT? I would’ve called off fucking work had someone told me. Since when do movies come out on a Thursday, and WHY? Can they come out on Mondays and Sundays now, too?

    This is MIND BLOWING.

  4. Triple Option says:

    I was a little confused by the opening. I was thinking tonight was the advanced opening night.

  5. chris says:

    I sure think “Kung Fu Panda” will have better legs than “Hangover.” Genre tendencies aside, the word of mouth should be fantastic.

  6. David Poland says:

    I agree that Panda will be leggier and gross more, especially worldwide.

  7. LexG says:

    Who the hell goes to see KUNG FU PANDA?

    It the entire world two years old? Didn’t they already make Kung Fu Panda 2 like four years ago? How do you guys tell any of these cartoons apart? They should fucking ban animation of any kind. I cannot IMAGINE being 25, 35, 50 years old and going “TWO FOR KUNG FU PANDA PLEASE” on a date or anything.

    My parents NEVER would’ve taken me to some Kung Fu Panda shit as a kid, because they themselves wouldn’t have wanted to sit through it. What are you, men or mice?

  8. sanj says:

    i have no desire to watch any movie the first day or at
    midnight ..these people are special and need a dp30
    so quick – wait at midnight and do some dp/30’s – interview regular movie people in lines .. bring
    extra lights cause its dark out.

    also since DP and Todd Phillips are best friends – hook up LexG with Todd so LexG can cowrite Hangover 3..coming in 2013…it’ll make 300 million and LexG becomes a millionaire.

  9. Matthew says:

    I always find it kind of funny how so many films start out with ridiculous Rotten Tomatoes scores when they first start getting reviews in. Happened with Thor, which was at something like 94% after it opened in Australia, and dropped down to around 78% after it went wide in American. Same for Kung Fu Panda 2, which dropped from like 92% a few days ago to 74% now.

    First Class is at 100% at the moment; any guesses as to where it’ll wind up?

  10. The Big Perm says:

    Who the hell goes to see TRANSFORMERS?

    It the entire world two years old? Didn’t they already make Transformers 2 like four years ago? How do you guys tell any of these cartoons apart? They should fucking ban animation of any kind. I cannot IMAGINE being 25, 35, 50 years old and going “TWO FOR TRANSFORMERS PLEASE” on a date or anything.

    My parents NEVER would’ve taken me to some Transformers shit as a kid, because they themselves wouldn’t have wanted to sit through it. What are you, men or mice?

  11. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Perm FTW

  12. NickF says:

    Matthew, I expect First Class to be in the high 80’s or low 90’s.

  13. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I know this may mean nothing but: My 24-year-old son just strolled into the house and said he and two buddies went to see The Hangover, Part II after work. I can’t remember the last time — maybe there’s never been a previous time — he and his buddies went to see a movie on a Thursday.

  14. Triple Option says:

    Sanj, I think Lex clearly stated in another thread that he has no interest in working w/a hack like Phillips – his paraphrased words, not mine.

    I kinda like midnight movies. I would’ve gone to a midnight showing for this one tonight if my friends weren’t lightweights. Actually, one was down, the other said he couldn’t hang. But the last time I went to a midnight movie was Kick-Ass and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I hope the anticipation would be high enough to stop people from texting in the middle of the movie. I doubt it, but still hoping.

  15. Jason says:

    I for one (with wife and kids) will be forking over for Panda this weekend. Panda 1 was a fun enjoyment. And yes, I am actively avoiding the 3D. Also, I will pay for Transformers as well. Unless reviews call Formers an abomination, it’s got me hooked (the trailer looks fantastic).

  16. sanj says:

    hey movie critics – how many midnight movies have you seen a year – i’m sure DP gets at least 5 invites to movies but he just can’t go cause he’s too busy reading the new yorker on is ipad.

  17. chris says:

    “Panda” is one of the few times when you SHOULD get the 3-D, Jason. It’s really smartly used and, at least in the theater where I saw it with the projectionist running that screening, it looked fantastic.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin