Box Office: ‘The Hangover, Pt. II’ and ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ help fuel monster Memorial Day weekend

Hollywood’s Memorial Day lessons? If you sequel it, they may come.

In the top slot, “The Hangover Pt. II” has grossed a staggering $86.4 million over the three-day weekend and $118 million since debuting on Thursday.  The film’s five-day estimate now looks like it will hit $135 million.  That’s the second biggest opening for an R-rated film in history after “The Matrix Revolutions” found $139 million in 2003.  “Hangover II” is also a smash overseas and should easily equal and possibly out gross the first “Hangover’s” $467 million global cume when all is said and done.

Having a solid, but not spectacular debut domestically was “Kung Fu Panda 2.”  The DreamWorks Animation sequel has grossed $53.8 million so far and should find $65 million for the five-day holiday weekend.  That’s not that far off from the first “Kung Fu Panda’s” $60 million debut in 2009, but the sequel is also benefiting from higher 3D ticket prices.  Luckily, the animated adventure has no real competition amongst family films until “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” opens on June 17 and “Cars 2” hits the road on June 24.  

Dropping to third was “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”  The critically panned Rob Marshall four-quel is looking at $39.3 million for the three-day frame. It’s estimated cume is $152.9 million so far.  Hitting the $300 million mark of the three previous pictures is likely out of reach at this point.

Showing remarkable word of mouth is “Bridesmaids” in the fourth the slot with a four-day take of $16.3 million.  Dropping only 21%, the Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph comedy should hit the $90 million mark by Monday and surpass $100 million by sometime next weekend.  That’s not a summer surprise, that’s a summer smash.  
Fifth place went to Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures’ “Thor.”  The God of Thunder conjured up another $9.3 million over the holiday frame for an estimated cume of $159.7 million.  Whether the “Avengers” prequel can hit the $200 million mark remains to be seen.  

Noteworthy, Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” cracked the top 10 at number seven with $1.9 million from just 58 theaters and a stellar $33,000 per screen.  “Paris” has grossed $2.8 million in just two weeks.

Also in limited release, Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” grew $352,000  in just four engagements in New York and Los Angeles for a very impressive $88,000 per screen. 

Look for continuing box office updates tomorrow on HitFix.