Box Office Report: 'The Hangover Part III' Opens to $3.1 Million Wednesday Night

Warner Bros. Pictures
"The Hangover III"

That's far less than the $10.4 million earned by "The Hangover Part II" two years ago; as Memorial Day weekend gets underway, the R-rated comedy will face tough competition from "Fast & Furious 6."

Todd Phillips’ swan song The Hangover Part III  took in an estimated $3.1 million in Wednesday night runs as it got a jump on the long Memorial Day weekend. That was notably less than the $10.4 million earned in midnight grosses by The Hangover Part II in 2011, a record for an R-rated film.

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Nor is Hangover III, from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, expected to match the $135 million Thursday-Monday debut of Hangover II

The third film reunites stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha and Zach Galifianakis as the Wolfpack, who try to help one of their own, Alan (Galifianakis), deal with the lack of purpose in his life.

A big part of the reason is Universal's Fast and Furious 6, which revs out of the gate Thursday night, ushering in one of the biggest box office showdowns in recent memory, since both films appeal heavily to males. (The last two Fast and Furious titles opened in April, while the previous three installments had summer releases.)

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Box office observers expect Fast 6 to beat Hangover III for Memorial Day proper with a Friday-Monday gross of $80 million or more; Hangover III is expected to earn $75 million to $85 million for the Thursday-Monday frame.

The third new nationwide offering over Memorial Day weekend is 20th Century Fox's 3D toon Epic, from Fox Animation Studios and Blue Sky Studios. Featuring a female heroine - much as Pixar's Brave did -- Epic is expected to gross $40 million or more for the four-day weekend.