Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Ten Most Impressive Box Office Runs of 2000s (No. 10)

10. The Hangover (2009)

Achievements:
  - Biggest R-rated comedy, breaking Beverly Hills Cop's 25 years record (by 18.1%)
  - 3rd biggest R-rated film ever behind The Passion of the Christ and Matrix Reloaded
  - 3rd biggest opening for an R-rated comedy behind Sex and the City and American Pie 2
  - Best overall multiplier for a R-rated film with $35m+ opening (6.17)

Predictions Comparison (opening):
  - BOG: $23m; BOM Derby: $25.4m; mine: $30m

The Hangover was expected to be a sleeper hit of last summer after the enthusiastic feedback from early screenings, but even the most optimistic predictions didn't have it open to $45m. $30m+ was already considered daring as it didn't have the star power of Wedding Crashers or Judd Apatow's involvement in Knocked Up and Superbad. Little, whether it's the director, cast, or plot itself, suggested a start near the level of American Pie 2, the sequel to a beloved original, was possible. In retrospect, the opening is indeed the most stunning figure of its entire run.

However, it doesn't mean the legs are anything less than magnificent. It is true that Wedding Crashers had an almost identical 6.17 multiplier, but it was never a given The Hangover could duplicate the feat. After all, few other R-rated raunchy comedies, regardless how well liked, exhibited such endurance, e.g. Knocked Up - 4.85, The 40-Year-Old Virgin - 5.11, American Pie - 5.48. One could also make a valid argument that the competition The Hangover had to face was tougher than Wedding Crashers', as The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Year One, Transformers 2, and Public Enemies were all targeting the male demographics. Instead, it had 5 weekends in the first 9 where it dropped less than 21%, and for the entire 28 weeks where actual data is reported, it did not have a single weekend drop over 44.02%. It in fact had one more $1m+ day (57, including 52 straight) than Shrek 2 did even though it opened 58.4% lower.

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