Why 'Hangover II' Is a Hit Despite Terrible Reviews

Courtesy of Warner Bros

Studio execs have long groused about the disparity between what critics and consumers like -- and there’s no better example than Warner Bros.' raunchy sequel.

Most reviewers panned Todd PhillipsThe Hangover Part II, but moviegoers gave it an A- CinemaScore. Not only that, the Warner Bros. sequel is so popular, it scored the biggest opening of all time for any comedy. It’s also one of the top Memorial Day launches in history.

Hangover grossed $135 million in its five-day domestic debut, the best showing of the year in North America, which has been plagued by a persistent box-office slump.

According to exit polling by market research firm CinemaScore, 65% of those turning out for the R-rated comedy were attracted by the type of movie it was, and 54% were interested in the subject matter.

Studio executives have long groused about the disparity between reviews and what consumers like. And though they’re still bothered by bad notices, they know certain sorts of movies are “review proof.” There’s no better example than Hangover Part II.

There was such anticipation for the movie that no one was going to miss out, period.

“Many of the industry’s largest box-office success stories were not favorites of the critics,” notes one studio chief, “just the moviegoing audiences.”

Hangover Part II didn’t do too shabby overseas either, grossing $70.1 million from 40 countries and bringing the movie’s total global launch to $205.1 million.