Based apparently on the reception of one brilliant teaser trailer and a recent full-length trailer, Warner Brothers has decided not to wait around and see how The Hangover performs at the box office this June, deciding to go ahead and greenlight a multimillion script for a sequel, which will be penned by Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong (neither of whom have writing credits for the original, though Phillips directed it and is signed on to direct the second entry). This is the second time in a week that a studio has greenlit a sequel before the first installment had even debuted widely — last week, Paramount gave the go-ahead for a Star Trek sequel.
This one, however, is a bit more unusual, in that it’s not based on a franchise with an existing fanbase. Warner is making the decision based on strong test screenings and a positive reaction to footage from that film at ShoWest. You know what else had strong test screenings? Adventureland. It opened with $6 million, and it had Kristen Stewart, who at least has had some box-office success. The Hangover stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zack Galifianakis, none of whom have achieved box-office success on their own (and only Cooper has done so as part of an ensemble).
Of course, the flick does look brilliant, though Todd Phillips hasn’t exactly given us a lot of consistency: He directed Road Trip and Old School, but he also directed the awful School for Scoundrels and the not-much-better Starsky and Hutch. And, we’re talking about a bachelor party comedy here — is the idea for the sequel that another member of the trio get hitched, thus creating another opportunity for a bachelor party? Or will they get hungover in a different fashion?
I don’t get the rush. There have been enough movies with considerable online buzz surrounding them that have not performed up to expectations (Snakes on a Plane, Zack and Miri Make a Porno) to make studios skittish, so I’m not sure why they don’t at least wait until the Monday after the film opens before greenlighting a sequel. But, then again, they’ve never been known for their business savvy.
That said, when The Hangover comes out, I’m there opening day. I am, after all, in touch with my inner douchebag. Check out the trailer if you haven’t already: