Warner Bros. kicks off what could be a record-breaking Memorial Day weekend, with “The Hangover Part III” launching Wednesday night headed toward a potential $75 million to $85 million five-day gross.
But the three-quel competes squarely against Universal’s Friday opener, “Fast and Furious 6,” which tracking suggests will win the weekend with $100 million through Monday.
“Hangover” and “Fast 6” — along with Fox’s family film “Epic” (also bowing Friday, with tracking in the $40 million range) — should lift holiday totals to $280 million or more, beating the $276 million Memorial Day benchmark set in 2011. The second “Hangover” led the charge that year, grossing $135 million in five days, though it’s very unlikely “Hangover III” will gross that much.
Warners launches the Legendary Pictures co-production nationwide Thursday at 3,555 locations, mirroring the same early release strategy of its predecessor.
The head-to-head match-up between “Hangover” and “Fast 6” is probably the most perplexing distribution moves so far this year, since both films target a mostly young male audience. Neither studio blinked, believing the marketplace will expand enough to support both films. But “Hangover” looks like it could get the shorter end of that stick.
At first glance, it’s hard to be displeased about an $85 million opening (Paramount perhaps being an exception after last weekend’s debut of “Star Trek Into Darkness”), but since early word-of-mouth on “The Hangover” has been poor, the film’s box office outlook is less certain.
Internationally, however, the franchise has grown exponentially; the last film grossed an unheard-of $332 million overseas.
Warners begins rolling out “Hangover III” overseas this weekend in three territories, including Australia and the U.K. Other major territories will follow mostly throughout the next few weeks.
Along with “Fast 6,” which launched last weekend in the U.K. and opens day-and-date in 59 markets, “Hangover III” will compete with holdovers “Star Trek,” “Iron Man 3” and Warner’s “The Great Gatsby” still doing solid business.
“Star Trek” is poised to crossed the $100 million domestic mark on Thursday, while “Iron Man 3” recently reached $1 billion globally. “Gatsby” also has been playing well worldwide, with approximately $140 million and counting.