Box Office Barometer 6-6-11: Prequel vs. Sequel

Last week, there was no Box Office Barometer because of Memorial Day (the writer took the time off to drown some of his sorrows in Las Vegas!!!!).  So, to make up for it, let’s compare last week’s #1 movie to this weeks!

Granted, The Hangover 2 is a sequel and X-Men: First Class is a prequel, where Hangover 2 looks to extend a franchise, whereas First Class starts one anew.  But, both movies are “quels” and derivative, therefore making them fundamentally the same.

The Hangover 2 was a sequel to a movie which premise was “3 guys wake up with amnesia and have to piece their night back together.”  There’s not much the producers could have done with a sequel other than reuse the format, which became tied to the title.  However, instead of creating clever ways to establish itself as unique and a worthy movie itself, The Hangover 2 rips itself off, reusing the same jokes and blatantly copying the same story format as the original (as Vulture astutely pointed out last week).

In X-Men: First Class, Matthew Vaughn made sure to pay homage to the first one, rather than completely rip off Bryan Singer’s first two films (because, let’s face it: X3 is not worth anybody’s time).  The in-jokes and references felt smarter, because they were subtle and they were not excuses for poor plot devices.  The movie was made for a wide audience, but rewarded fans who have seen the previous movies.  Generally, a “quel” that aims for a wider audience is a bad idea (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), but First Class was a great story that deserved to be told.

Understandably, Warner Bros went with a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy with Hangover 2.  Clearly, it worked, and it made more money opening than X-Men: First Class‘s opening return ($85m vs. $54m).  However, as previously stated, these two movies are fundamentally the same: each were created to capitalize on their respective franchise’s previous success.  Unfortunately, Hangover 2 ultimately didn’t see itself as much more of that, whereas X-Men: First Class saw what happened to X3 and sought to do to distinguish itself as a strong and valuable movie.


Box Office Results (from Deadline)

1. X Men: First Class (Marvel/Fox) NEW [3,641 Theaters]
Friday $23M, Saturday $22.9M, Weekend $54M

2. The Hangover Part 2 (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,615 Theaters]
Friday $10.5M, Saturday $13.5M, Weekend $33.5M (-61%), Cume $188M

3. Kung Fu Panda 2 3D (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) Week 2 [3,952 Theaters]
Friday $6.2M, Saturday $10.5M, Weekend $25M (-47%), Cume $101M

4. Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 3D (Disney) Week 3 [3,966 Theaters]
Friday $5M, Saturday $7.9M, Weekend $19M, Cume $191.2M

5. Bridesmaids (Universal) Week 4 [2,919 Theaters]
Friday $3.5M, Saturday $5M, Weekend $12.5M, Cume $107.6M

6. Thor (Marvel/Paramount) Week 5 [2,780 Theaters]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4.2M, Cume $169.1M

7. Fast Five (Universal) Week 6 [2,237 Theaters]
Friday $975K, Saturday $1.4M, Weekend $3.3M, Cume $202.1M

8. Midnight In Paris (Sony Classics) Week 3 [147 Theaters]
Friday $700K, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $2.8M, Cume $6.8M

9. Something Borrowed (Warner Bros) Week 5 [688 Theaters]
Friday $250K, Saturday $475K, Weekend $1K, Cume $36.8M

10. Jumping The Broom (TriStar/Sony) Week 5 [589 Theaters]
Friday $240K, Saturday $330K, Weekend $800K, Cume $35.8M


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