Sequels of Hangover and Kungfu Panda shatter box office

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With the screening of two potentially hit blockbusters of the summer, "The Hangover Part II" and "Kung Fu Panda 2," the box office record over the Memorial Day weekend was shattered, as the pair score a one-two finish at the box office derby.

"The Hangover Part II," a comedy from Legendary/Warner Bros., opened to widest release on Friday, hitting 3,615 theaters across Canada and the United States as the widest opening ever for an R- rated. Warner Bros. estimated that the film would gross 87 million U.S. dollars during the four-day holiday, landing in the number one place of the weekend domestic box office. Overall, the sequel to the "Hangover" franchise is on track to rake in 118 million dollars over four days.

The film also boasted the highest R-rated opening over the years, replacing Sex and the City (2008) with 26.7 million dollars, second only to "The Matrix Reloaded" (91.8 million dollars) eight years ago, according to North America box office authority.

According to estimated receipts, the 2011 Memorial Day weekend has ushered in a new box office record as a total of 270 million dollars in ticket sales were expected to harvest, shuttering a previous record of 254 million dollars set four years ago, when a trio of blockbusters including "Pirates Of The Caribbean 3," " Shrek 3" and "Spider-Man 3" ran as top winners of the box office derby.

The sequel to the 2009 original film tells how a trio of buddies, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) experienced in exotic Thailand for Stu's wedding. Exit polls showed that 51 percent of viewers were female and 41 percent were aged between 18 and 24. The film has received generally negative reviews. "Rotten Tomatoes," a review aggregator, gives it a score of 35 percent based on 176 reviews from critics with a rating average of 4.9 out of 10. Critics agree that the flick is " a crueler, darker, raunchier carbon copy of the first installment" and "lacks the element of surprise -- and most of the joy -- that helped make the original a hit."

"Kung Fu Panda 2," an animated comedy and sequel to 2008 "Kung Fu Panda," is estimated to take in 48 million dollars from 3,925 locations in number two place. Although being overshadowed by its raunchy competitor "The Hangover Part II," the film managed to win over a large number of school children as the Memorial Day break began. It has won basically positive reviews, with many critics praising its animation, 3D effects, and character development. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a "Certified Fresh" score of 80 percent, based on reviews from 99 critics and a rating average of 7 out of 10. According to the website, critics agree that the film "offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate," although the storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," the fourth sequel to the hit "pirates" franchise from the Walt Disney Studios, raked in 39 million dollars over the Friday-Sunday period, ending in number three place. It is on track to gross 153 million dollars in 10 days. In fourth place is "Bridesmaids," an R-rated Universal comedy targeting female audiences, with 16 million dollars in movie ticket receipts for a total of 85 million dollars in three weeks. "Thor," a Paramount superhero drama, was fifth with 9.4 million dollars in movie stubs. It has taken in 159.7 million dollars in four weeks.


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