Update - 12:45 PM PST: Based on matinee ticket sales, "The Hangover, Pt. II" now looks like it will gross $121 million over the five-day holiday weekend. "Kung Fu Panda 2" should make $63.5 million over the same period, but perform stronger overseas where it is also opening day and date in most territories.
The "Hangover Part II" party is off to a great start and has the whole long weekend ahead of it.
Warner Bros.’ comedy sequel earned $31.7 million on opening day yesterday, standing as the third biggest Thursday opening of all time. That number includes the $10.4 million it grossed in midnight screenings, a record for an R-rated film.
For films that have debuted on a Thursday, only mega-budgeted sci-fi tentpoles "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" ($50 million) and "The Matrix Reloaded" ($37.5 million) have topped it.
Nearly doubling the first day gross of the original film ("The Hangover" nabbed $16.7 million in 2009), "Hangover Part II" should take in somewhere between $110 to $125 million over the long weekend, which would be the biggest debut of the year (ahead of sequels "Fast Five:" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides").
The Bangkok-set film stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms, all reprising their roles from the first film. So, where will they go in the inevitable third film?
Meanwhile, the other big sequel opening this weekend, DreamWorks Animation and Paramount’s "Kung Fu Panda 2," starring the voices of Jack Black and Angelina Jolie, grossed $5.8 million on Thursday. The film will draw copious kiddie crowds as they have an extra day off school on Monday. The sequel is expected to earn $65 million to $70 million for the frame. Skadoosh!
Check out some photos from the "Hangover Part II" premiere here.
Watch the trailer below: