BULLSEYE, May 27: 'Hangover,' 'Panda,' 'Penguins,' 'Lantern,' More
See where audience interest is leading into the weekend.
It's all about Asia this weekend in Hollywood.
With an early Thursday start, DreamWorks Animation's China-centric sequel Kung Fu Panda 2 is hitting theaters against Warner Bros.' Thailand-set Hangover Part II. Both offer laughs and wild animals, though the animated ones are more civilized.
Unsurprisingly, the raunch-heavy Todd Phillips-directed Hangover sequel is showing huge interest and activity from the younger male set, while Panda shows less intense commitment but a more four-quadrant flavor. Of course, this Flixster data does not include very young viewers -- those most likely to be in line with their parents to see Po and the Furious Five -- so their box office impact is not accounted for here. The first Panda grossed north of $60 million when it opened three summers ago, and this could go bigger. On the flip side, it's a certainty that a portion of under-17 viewers will end up buying tickets to Panda only then to sneak into the R-rated Hangover.
Regardless, Hangover looks like a sure thing to come out ahead at the end of the five-day Memorial Day window after its massive midnight numbers.
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Fox's X-Men: First Class, which has very good buzz (plus some hotly dressed female mutants) has the following June 3 weekend to itself. The previous entry in the series, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, opened at $85 million two years ago, and from the Bullseye evidence so far this one isn't shaping up to top it. We'll see what happens in the next week, though.
June 10 will showcase J.J. Abrams' first solo outing as a feature writer-director, Super 8. Paramount can't be happy that thus far it doesn't seem to be drawing any female interest, but the marketing campaign so far has been very subdued and shrouded in mystery (not a surprise when it comes to Abrams' m.o.). But there are a few weeks left to flog it. Same with Relativity's kids' comedy Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, which only shows minimal awareness (from women and girls) so far ahead of its June 10 release.
It's too far out to judge much about Warner Bros.' superhero flick Green Lantern or Fox's family comedy Mr. Popper's Penguins, except to say that each movie's star -- Ryan Reynolds, Jim Carrey -- has a lot riding on him.
Here's Pamela McClintock's box office preview for the weekend for added analysis.