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The 10 Biggest Opening Weekends for an R-Rated Film

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | May 31, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | May 31, 2011 |

The Hangover Part II scored $86 million over the weekend, good for the second highest opening weekend all time for an R-Rated film, falling short of the $91 million pulled in by The Matrix Reloaded back in 2003. The Hangover Part II also racked up $105 million over the four-day weekend (fourth best, all time), and a whoppig $137.4 million since it opened at midnight last Wednesday. There are some other near-records in there, too, including the third highest Thursday opening of all time, and the third highest Thursday gross of all time. And while we can attribute ticket inflation to some of that, we cannot attribute 3D ticket sales. There’s no getting around the fact that a spectacular number of people spent two hours with the Wolf Pack this weekend, although given the 6,7000 screens it opened on (a record for an R-rated film), and the relative lack of adult options, moviegoers didn’t have a lot of other choices this weekend, especially as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides had already lost its buzz. Depp’s film fell 56 percent, but worry not, Captain Jack masochists, the $600 million it’s already made worldwide more or less guarantees a fifth film.

But more on The Hangover Part II: With $137 million already, it stands at number eight all time for R-Rated comedies and has an opportunity to break the record held by the original The Hangover of $277 million. The first movie, if you recall, opened with only $44 million, but swam a wave of positive word of mouth all summer long in 2009. I would suspect that word of mouth might work backwards here, and given the box-office multiplier of sequels (around 2.5), it may fall ultimately short. (On a more heartening note, among the top ten R-Rated comedies, National Lampoon’s Animal House still holds number seven after all these years, even without the benefit of inflation).

The number two film of the weekend, Kung Fu Panda, has racked up $68 million in its first five days, short of the $72 million its predecessor made during the same time period without the benefit of a holiday weekend. I wouldn’t worry too much about the sequel, though; it has two more weeks of space to work with before Jim Carrey’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins ruins childhoods on June 17th.

Fourth place holds a positive note for the future of comedy, as Bridesmaids continues to perform well, dropping only 20 percent and adding another $16 million. With $85 million already, Bridesmaids stands to earn in the $120 million range and may become the biggest grossing debut for an “SNL” alumni if it surpasses John Belushi’s aforementioned National Lampoon’s Animal House.

In limited release, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris continues to perform very well. It added $2 million on only 58 screens, good for a $33,000 per screen average. It will almost certainly be Allen’s biggest hit since Vicky Christina Barcelona ($23 million) without the benefit of women kissing. Fun Fact: Woody Allen’s highest grossing film is Hannah and Her Sisters, which made $40 million back in 1986. Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life also had a strong opening weekend, putting up a $93,000 per screen average in four theaters. Daniel will have our review of that up today.

And as promised, here are The 10 Biggest Opening Weekends for an R-Rated Film.

1. The Matrix Reloaded: $91 million.

2. The Hangover Part II: $86 million

3. The Passion of the Christ: $83 million

4. 300: $70 millin.

5. Hannibal: $58 million

6. Sex and the City: $57 million

7. Watchmen: $55 million

8. 8 Mile: $51 million

9. Wanted: $50.9 million

10. Jackass 3-D: $50.3 million

Bonus, here are the 10 Biggest Openings for an R-Rated Comedy

1. The Hangover Part II: $86 million

2. Jackass 3D: $50.3 million

3. American Pie 2: $45 million

4. The Hangover: $44.9 million

5. Scary Movie: $42 million

6. Wedding Crashers: $33.9 million

7. American Wedding: $33.3 million

8. Superbad: $33 million

9. Knocked Up: $30 million

10. Jackass: Number Two: $29 million