Weekend Wrap-Up

Hangover makes Kung Fu Panda an endangered species

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

May 29, 2011

Hey, I just found some pictures of your fiancee.

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The Memorial Day Weekend numbers continue with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which is in third place with $39.3 million. After its somewhat subdued debut last weekend of $90.2 million, the Disney action-adventure fell an expected 56%. We knew that there was a certain rush to see this film from the Captain Jack Sparrow fans even as we also had empirical data to show us that there wasn’t the pent-up demand for the franchise that there had been in the past. So far, the fourth entry in the Pirates series has earned $152 million for Disney, but that only tells a very tiny piece of the story. Audiences overseas clearly had a desire to see Captain Jack and his pirate cronies once again, because it had a record-breaking $256.3 million in overseas revenues in its first weekend (which coincided with its North American theatrical release). The film is already well over $450 million in worldwide receipts, which for this type of franchise, is where the money is truly earned. It’s almost certainly safe to say that Disney will put a fifth film into production at the first opportunity. Hopefully, they’ll take some time to develop a story that is less of a throwaway than On Stranger Tides was.

Next up is Bridesmaids, which continues to show remarkable staying power as it holds on in fourth place. The Universal property featuring Kristen Wiig and a merry troupe of funny women took in another $16.4 over the three-day portion of the weekend, a decline of only 22%. Word-of-mouth has been very kind to the Judd Apatow-produced film, as it has already earned $85 million and has a ways to go before it even slows down. Given that some are calling it a female version of The Hangover (I’ve heard several of my own female friends use that exact terminology, in fact), one might have expected the actual Hangover to knock the wind out of Bridesmaids’ sails. Instead, what we’re seeing is that female-targeted films – and not just romcoms – have a great shot at performing exceedingly well. Right now, it’s almost a “build it and they’ll come” scenario.


Thor takes fifth place, as newer, shinier options knock it down a few pegs. The Marvel superhero film earned another $9.4 over the three-day portion of the weekend, a decline of 39%. Considering the fact that Thor is a lesser-known, more marginal character in the comic book world, Paramount is going to be very pleased that the film is looking to end up in the $175 million range by the time it departs North American theaters (it currently sits with $159 million). It’s been a solid overseas performer, too, as it has earned more than $250 million from those venues. So far, Iron Man and Thor have done an excellent job at laying the groundwork for the impending Avengers film. Next up, we’ll see how Captain America fares, which will be interesting when you consider that his international appeal might be hampered since it’s such a specifically patriotic character.

Yet another recent blockbuster sits in the sixth position. Fast Five, the big, big hit for Universal, had a three-day total of $6.6 million. It fell 37%, and has a current domestic total of $196 million, inching ever closer to the magical $200 million mark. We’ve talked a lot in this wrap-up about the importance of international numbers in the success of these blockbusters, and Fast Five is yet another example of how that comes into play. The fast car/heist flick has taken in almost $340 million from international locations, and you can rest assured that the studio has found a formula that works for this franchise. They’re going to keep milking that cow while they can.

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