Ever since Todd Phillips’ 1998 Sundance entry “Frat House,” the helmer has always possessed a keen sense about the underbelly of the male sex and their penchant for excessive romps. Solidifying a fanbase among guys with gross-out pics such as “Old School” and “Road Trip,” Phillips turned the formula for the Las Vegas bachelor-party buddy comedy on its head this summer with “The Hangover” and wound up attracting women to his cinematic style as well.
“Women like to laugh. They just don’t like movies about wedding planners,” Phillips says. “For them it’s a peek behind the curtain of a male tradition that they’re normally not invited to unless they’re working it.”
Not only has “Hangover” become Phillips’ first film to crack the century mark at the domestic B.O., earning $213 million through July 9, but the laffer is on its way to becoming the highest-grossing R-rated comedy off all time and the third-highest R-rated pic of all time, filing behind an ironic twosome that includes “The Passion of the Christ” ($370 million) and “The Matrix Reloaded” ($281 million).
Knowing they had a hit on their hands after the first test screening, Warner Bros. announced a “Hangover” sequel with Phillips two months prior to “The Hangover’s” June 5 release date, thus sending a clear message to audiences that this fresh-face headliner comedy was something to behold.
“You never have a sense if a movie is working if you’re Jewish and working on a comedy,” quips Phillips about his foresight on the success of “Hangover,” “but our first screening was magical. It played like a rock concert.”