Setting aside the issue of whether you liked the first “Hangover” or not, this is pretty much the most in-your-face confident trailer for anything I’ve seen so far this year.
And why wouldn’t it be? When Warner Bros. was gearing up for the release of “The Hangover” in 2009, they screened the film about 11,000 times, wanting to make sure they did everything they could to kickstart word of mouth on a film that they felt deserved to be a hit, but that didn’t have a giant A-list cast to help sell it. They worked their asses off selling it, and watching them work was a real education in just how hard a studio can work, and just how much of a reward you can reap when word of mouth kicks in.
There’s been some cultural backlash in the wake of the juggernaut success of the first film, and there are certainly people who didn’t like the first one, but when you’re making a sequel to the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time, you have permission to swagger a bit.
I’m seeing people compare this to things like the “Bad Teacher” review that came out this week, and there’s no comparison in the type of campaign they’re running. “Bad Teacher” is starting from scratch, and they have to sell their premise, their cast, their tone, and just how raunchy it is, all in two minutes. With “The Hangover Part II,” you’ve got massive audience awareness already, and the teaser is more about telling you “This is a new location, and a darker ride, but it’s the same cast, and here we go.”
Talking to Ed Helms at Sundance, or talking to Todd Phillips, it sounds like Thailand is a major character in this film, and that shooting there had a genuine impact on the filmmakers. I think the shoot was sort of barely-controlled chaos, and it may make the film feel very different than the first one. So far, this trailer just emphasizes a few key locations from the debauchery this time around, and then shows us the guys. There will have to be another trailer at some point that shows more of the actual film, but as a teaser, I think this is really effective and smart.
Apple.com has the exclusive debut today, so go check it out, and let me know what you think. Too confident? Confident enough? Do they deserve that swagger?
“The Hangover Part II” will be in theaters Memorial Day.