Warner Bros.’ raucous retread “The Hangover Part II” kickstarted the Memorial Day weekend box office with $10.4 million from some 2,600 midnight runs on Wednesday — enough to make it the new all-time latenight recordholder for an R-rated film.
Pic is expected to total an estimated $25 million for Thursday. “Hangover II” pummeled the previous $6.3 million R-rated midnight benchmark set in October 2010 by “Paranormal Activity 2.”
Pic is so far outpacing its predecessor in early overseas territories including France, Italy and Australia. “Hangover II” bows this weekend in 40 markets outside the U.S. on more than 5,000 screens.
The Warner laffer’s domestic midnight high is impressive given its midweek berth, helped by college-aged moviegoers on summer vacation.
The total far exceeded this year’s previous midnight best, Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which last weekend collected $4.7 million from latenight screenings. (Summit’s “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” still holds the overall midnight record at $30 million.)
“Hangover II” is expected to parlay its record-setting midnight take into the biggest debut ever for an R-rated film — comedy or otherwise — and is likely to beat Warner’s “The Matrix Reloaded,” which opened to north of $91 million in 2003.