‘Hangover 2′ stomps ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′, but are these films comparable?

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It was a weekend of sequels (which is quite indicative of what is to come during this summer’s movie season record number of franchise follow-ups) at the box office. This holiday weekend’s two new wide releases opened on Thursday instead of the usual Friday. In the end, The Hangover Part II landed an estimated $118.1 million for the four-day holiday weekend (not counting Memorial Day), which is significantly higher than the $80.5 million predicted by Box Office Mojo’s derby game, which also predicted a second-place opening for the Bradley Cooper movie. In the end, Kung Fu Panda 2 summarily landed in second place with a $53.8 million four-day weekend cumulative take.

Naturally, these two sequels shall be compared to their respective predecessors. Kung Fu Panda opened in June 2008 to the tune of $60 million (with cumulative $215,434,591 domestic and $632 worldwide grosses) whereas The Hangover opened in June 2009 with an opening weekend of $45 million. However, positive word of mouth boosted Hangover’s subsequent weekends to a fairly unprecedented hold that led to $277,322,503 domestic and $467,483,912 worldwide totals. So anticipation for this sequel was much higher than for the opening weekend of the first movie, and Memorial Day weekend did nothing but extend the party for The Hangover 2. Meanwhile, releasing on this particular holiday weekend probably caused Kung Fu Panda 2 to not live up to previous expectations because the vast majority of schools are still in session (unlike the home-schooled Jolie-Pitt clan), so a Thursday release didn’t mean much in terms of kiddle-related ticket sales.

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Also, Angelina Jolie as The Tigress mattered very little, since one can barely recognize her voice at all. She might very well be gorgeous and a talented actress, but Jolie’s voice isn’t very distinctive at all.

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However, The Hangover Part II has not only won the weekend but also landed the weekend record as far as comedies go, which is sort of amazing considering that even the trailer revealed the film to be just like The Hangover itself. Indeed, the negative critical reception — 35% approval for the sequel vs. 79% for the first movie — reflects the near-universal consensus that the second film is a virtual carbon copy of the first one. Here’s a particularly apt take from Dustin Rowles at Pajiba:

Movies can reshape our imagination, bring us to tears, render us lovesick, break our psyches, shock and horrify us, or draw out an emotional catharsis. The great power of film is its ability to inspire, to elicit laughter, to provoke thought, or to enable us to appreciate what we have or what’s been lost. The great power of The Hangover II, on the other hand, is its immense ability to make us feel as though we’ve been robbed, ripped off, stolen from, sold a bill of goods, knocked out, anally violated and left for dead. It’s not even that The Hangover II is a bad film; it’s that it’s a film we’ve already f&#*ing seen. Maybe you remember it. It was called The Hangover.

Sequels suggest continuations of stories; The Hangover II is not a sequel. It’s a remake set in a different g**d*mn city. It’s the same band singing the same song. All they did was add someone to play the wood block and tickle Brad Cooper’s balls. The lyrics are slightly different, but no one even had the goddamn decency to change the chorus. It’s not a new movie; they just repackaged the old one. It’s like paying to replace your laptop with the exact same one, only the screensaver is an Asian tr-ny instead of a stripper Mom. It’s like The Next Karade Kid starring Ralph Machio in the Hilary Swank role. You know what that’s called? The Karate Kid.

What I don’t get it, where is the outrage? People paid $13 to see something they’d already seen. Why weren’t there reports from midnight screenings of audience members ripping out their seats, beating up old women, looting Rite Aids, and throwing batteries at movie theater managers? Have we grown so complacent that we will now idly accept a re-gifted movie? We’re just going to shrug? That’s what we’re doing now? “Hey, why are you getting so worked up? Whaddya expect? It’s Hollywood.” You know what: Go f&@k yourself. Just because you’re a f&@king [redacted] doesn’t give that doucher Todd Phillips the right to treat us all like one.

If you’ve seen the first movie, then you know what’s going to happen in the second film. The chief “difference” here is that it’s Stu (Ed Helms) who is getting married, and the wedding takes place in Thailand instead of Vegas. And you know what they say about Bangkok? “What Happens in Bangkok, shut the f&@k up, douche.”

[From Pajiba]

So far, it’s only the critics who are complaining about the carbon-copy factor, so perhaps The Hangover fans just really wanted to rewatch the original? This would account for the lack of outrage coming from social media sites like Twitter. My suspicion is that The Hangover movies are such a departure from real life that they merely function as a stress-relieving two hours of comedy, and perhaps people don’t care if they’ve heard all the jokes already. Then again, we’ll really have to wait and see what happens with The Hangover 2 next weekend; if the drop off is steep, we’ll know that (for the sequel, at least) word of mouth is negative rather than positive.

Meanwhile, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides landed in third place with $39.3 million for a two week domestic total of $152.9 million and $624 million globally, thanks to the worldwide appeal of one Johnny Depp. Bridesmaids $16.4 million for a three-week total of $85.0 million and Thor $9.4 millionfor a four-week total of $159.7 million.

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Movie stills courtesy of AllMoviePhoto

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30 Responses to “‘Hangover 2′ stomps ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′, but are these films comparable?”

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  1. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    Well to answer the title question…of course not. The Hangover to was the most anticipated squeal this year…hands down….the theater was packed. Hangover 2 was funny as hell thought. Never laughed so hard. OMG.

  2. Samigirl says:

    I kind of agree with you Bedhead, when you say that we wanted to re-watch the original. While watching The Hangover, I thought, this would never happen, but it’s so funny, I don’t care. I heard the Hangover II was just like that, except even more outlandish, and I really didn’t care. I don’t think anyone else in the theater did, either. Now that Todd and the boys realize what they can get away with, they took it above and beyond, crossed a few lines, and it was hysterical, vulgar, incredibly lewd, and everything I would want in a sick comedy. It may be the exact same movie, but it didn’t let me down in terms of hilarity. RomComs use the same formula ALLLLL THE TIME and the critics don’t b*tch about that. The Hangover wasn’t broke…so they didn’t fix it. End of story.

    s/n-I really hate that Bridesmaids hasn’t made more money. I actually thought it was one of the more clever movies I’ve seen, and possibly more funny than TH2!

  3. thesea says:

    People like Bradley Cooper and I guess people see what they want to see. Last time I checked we still have that perogative.

  4. Reality says:

    I won’t be seeing either of these sequels until they come out on dvd, I just didn’t care for the originals. I’m sure the Kung Fu Panda people were pretty disappointed though.

    P.S. The article quoted from Pajiba contains the dreaded word ‘retard’, which I’m pretty sure was outlawed round these here parts as the most offensive word east of the Mississippi.

    I smell revolution in the air!

  5. Celebitchy says:

    @Reality – I put [redacted] into that quoted text, thanks.

  6. lu says:

    I want to see the Hangover 2 soooo badly, but I promised my younger cousins that i would go and take them to see Kung Fu Panda 2.

    I dont think this movie has to do with Bradly Cooper. It is just a funny successful movie that people wanted to see again

  7. kiko says:

    there was no outrage because everyone already knew that this is a carbon copy of the first film.or maybe they just thought it won’t be cool enough to say since everyone things that this is the messiah of comedies :x

    *curses.watches “old school” on dvd for the billionth time*

  8. KLO says:

    This movie has everything to do with Bradley Cooper. I fell in love with him yesterday :D
    But oh well, the monkey and the face tattoo might have a little part in the success. Every time they played the trailer in a theatre, everyone would be in hysterics. I think I’ll go see it soon.

  9. Jenn WInd says:

    We took the kids to see Kung Fu Panda 2 and it was really funny! Both of my kids loved it and want to see a 3rd now.

    I won’t go see Hangover 2 in the theater, I thought the first one was funny, but was not that excited that they made a second. But we had friends that saw it and said it was horrible and were really dissapointed with it.

  10. Reality says:

    I was just being a smart-ass CB, I’m not here as the ‘word police’. Although I understand that others do find it offensive.

    I also watched Rango yesterday and loved it, so I’ll probably sound like a bad western for the next 24hrs or so….

  11. searching4grace says:

    My mom took my son to see Kung Fu Panda 2 3D on Friday, it’s all I’ve heard about ALL weekend. I don’t think these two movies can be compared box office wise. One is for the families who wanted to go out, one was for the singles/couples who wanted to go out.

  12. the original bellaluna says:

    No comparison, other than the “2″ in their titles. One is for kids (in that godforsaken 3D) and one is for adult kids.

    I finally saw the first Hangover (on HBO, I think), and the first time I saw it I didn’t think it was that great. Now, whenever I need a laugh, it’s my go-to. I’m pretty sure H2 will be the same.

  13. mln76 says:

    I didn’t watch either I don’t feel like dealing w/ crowds @ the movies especially in this gorgoues weather. Maybe I’ll catch The Hangover if it rains.

  14. apsutter says:

    I saw Bridesmaids and it was much much funnier than hangover 2! That movie was a waste of my 8 bucks. It was exactly the same but about 1/4 as funny. In the 1st one they were on a search but fun hijinks ensued and the banter was funny. In this one they are just running from place to place with nothing funny happening. The theater was sold out of course and I feel like everyone was just so wanting to laugh that people were laughing hysterically at parts that were mildly funny. I think KFP2 will have long legs though

  15. rkintn says:

    I didn’t go see “The Hangover” when it was in theaters and it has been a regret of mine. I made sure not to make the same mistake with HO2…and I was not disapapointed! It was hilarious and rude and crude and socially unacceptable and I LOVED it! Of course, BCoop is the main reason for that, but whatevs;) It doesn’t surprise me that it has done so well and I am betting it will continue to do well. It’s just that freakin’ funny. Oh and the trailer for “Fright Night” was shown and I can’t WAIT for that one!

  16. Louise says:

    The trailer made it obvious that Hangover 2 was the same as the first. So I can’t imagine that anybody thought it would be different. I think the sequel would have been better if they showed what actually happened during the blackout. Some were shown but mostly just talked about.

    I’m not sure why people think Kung Fu Panda is bombing. It met expectations and isn’t an event sequal like Shrek or Toy Story. It also doesn’t help that most kids are still in school. But cartoons usually have legs and opening weekend isn’t as big a deal.

    @Samigirl: Considering that Bridesmaids has no real stars, it’s doing very well. Most movies drop 50% each week but because great word of mouth Bridesmaids is only dropping about 20-25%.

  17. Solveig says:

    What makes The Hangover (first movie) so good is the “surprise factor”: we didn’t know exactly what was happening to the group of friends, we didn’t know were Doug was, we didn’t know why the tiger was in the bathroom, we didn’t know lots of things.
    What is supposed to me surprising in The Hangover II?
    Be prepared for The Hangover 3, though. Todd Phillip said in a recent interview that if the total gross of the movie will be positive, he is going to film the third chapter in Amsterdam.

  18. mln76 says:

    Oh and BTW although Bradley was funny in the first movie for me it became a hit due to Zach G’s brand of crazy. His wolf pack toast is a pure classic.

  19. Melissa says:

    Saw Hangover 2 last night in a theater that was not sold out – I was very surprised! It was a rehash of the original, but anybody seeing the trailer knew that. Was it as good as the original? No, but it was still funny. And I agree with “mln76″ – I think a lot of The Hangover’s success was due to Zach G. You could have cast any good looking actor in Cooper’s role, but Zach G’s role was totally for him and him only.

    Bridesmaids would get my vote over The Hangover II (“it’s happening. it’s happening!”), but The Hangover II wasn’t terrible.

  20. hangover says:

    we went to the theater to watch KFP2, however, they were sold out, since they were only showing it in 2 rooms/theaters, however hangover 2 took the whole second floor of the moview theater. which had 6? i think. anyway so we ended up watching the movie. gotta give credit when it’s due. there were parts where i was laughing my ass off. but 70% of the time, i was just building up enough strength to not get annoyed. I do not like characters like zach g…I dont think i can ever be friend’s with people like that. how can someone be so… Stupid? anyway so more than half the time, i was just trying my best not to roll my eyes. the only time i thought he was funny was when he was crying in thailand. the first time anyway. I dont understand why they had to insert a character like that. just to force a laugh. like bradley coop and Ed Helms are funny – like they dont have to act dumb to make me laugh… but zach’s character Alan, please.. i wanted to punch him in the face. and the thai kid brother – he only looked like he had character on the still pictures. talk about dry as a bone in the sahara desert.

    i wish i saw KFP2 instead

  21. Camille says:

    I have no desire what so ever to see TH2, but I will probably end up renting KFP2 on DVD for my son, he loved the 1st one.

  22. Cherry Rose says:

    Just saw Hangover 2 today. It was funny, but it had the exact same formula as the first one. However, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    I can easily see them doing a third movie, but the whole concept is kind of getting old, and it’s just going to get ridiculous as they try to make it even more outrageous.

  23. liv says:

    i saw it on friday. from the trailers, i knew it was similar, but wasn’t really expecting a carbon copy. imo, it was more of a remake than a sequel. you would expect that the wolfpack hung out after the events in vegas, but no they all reverted back to their former selves. they didn’t even hang out with alan afterwards. lol. there were some parts that i enjoyed, but i don’t think i’ll rush out to see the third one.

  24. Lindsay says:

    They aren’t but the two movies battling for the top spot usually aren’t. It is rare two really similar movies come out in the same week. That point could be made almost every week.

    @Samigirl I get your point but people do complain about it a lot. They are also never pretending to be anything else. A sequel you would assume is for furthering the story or for new material. This is the same plot, same actors, same jokes.

  25. Dee Vine says:

    Saw kungfu panda 2 over the weekend. I think I laughed 2x throughout the movie. The kids liked it but they barely laughed too. I thought it was dull.

    The Hangover 2 has better reviews among viewers than critics so i’ll be watching that next.

  26. ZenB!tch says:

    The jury is out until Cars 2 and Transformers 3 come out but I am hoping the disappointing showings of Kung Fu Panda and POTC:4 mean that 3D is going away. I really don’t like paying $3 more for a mediocre movie which means I have been staying home more.

  27. ZenB!tch says:

    I went to THE THEATER because of Bradley who wasn’t shirtless enough in this movie. I would have waited for DVD otherwise, like I did with the first one.

    As for Zach G, I’ve only seen him in this and that bad Disney rodent movie. I was not a fan in the Disney movie but that was not his fault, it should have been fully animated. I love his comic talent in this series. I can’t say I “like” him in it but he’s hilarious.

    If you don’t think special ed comedy is funny you should NOT see this film. He’s supposed to be autistic, right?

    @hangover Yes, I would avoid Alan like the plague in real life and if I were Lauren and found out where Stu had been, (or what had been in Stu) it would be INSTANT DIVORCE (really now I am wondering about a few of my exes). Really that bothered me a lot more than Alan, ever could (even in real life). *Shudder* BUT.ITS.A.MOVIE. It’s as realistic as a fat talking Panda.

  28. ZenB!tch says:

    Bridesmaids is the most comparable to the Hangover (first movie). It’s making steady money on word of mouth. I’m excited about the DVD – I pay theater prices for very very few movies these days (event films only).

  29. Cloe says:

    I didn’t think the first Hangover was that funny so I didn’t rush to see this one. However, apparently others are of the same opinion. One of the major celeb sites has a poll going and about half the responders said that they didn’t like the movie and thought it would be different, more imaginative. I think it was so successful because it just didn’t have any adult movie competition for this holiday weekend.

  30. Eve says:

    Well, if The Hangover 2 is a carbon copy of the first one, I’m not going to watch it…not even on DVD.