In one of the most anticipated box office showdowns of the summer, "The Hangover Part III" is hoping to get a jump start on "Fast & Furious 6."
The final installment in Todd Phillips' raunchy R-rated comedy franchise was slated to face off against "Fast & Furious 6" at the multiplex on May 24. But as Universal Pictures' action flick continues to generate more interest among young male moviegoers, Warner Bros. has decided to release the third "Hangover" on May 23. (Technically, both films open on that Thursday, since the latest "Fast" film will have late-night screenings on the 23rd.)
On Wednesday, however, Warner Bros.' president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman insisted that the move had nothing to do with competition from the latest "Fast & Furious," which stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.
"I've been at a screening of this movie this morning and it's been a fantastic reaction from exhibitors," he said. "I've been kind of on the borderline, waiting to see if everything fell into place."
Fellman also pointed out that "The Hangover Part II" debuted on a Thursday in May 2009 and grossed $31.6 million that day, so he felt he had a "precedent" to uphold.
On Monday, pre-release audience surveys indicated that the third "Hangover" was set to collect roughly $70 million over the four-day Memorial Day weekend. "Fast & Furious 6," meanwhile, will likely start off with about $100 million during that same period. The comedy cost $103 million to produce, while the action film had a budget of $160 million.
At CinemaCon in Las Vegas last month, meanwhile, filmmaker Phillips told the Times he wasn't worried about "Fast & Furious 6" hurting the gross of his picture.
"I think people will go to the movies twice in five days," he said at the annual conference of movie theater owners. "Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world don't think about it and just say, 'Hey, I'm gonna go see this Vin Diesel movie tonight and Sunday let's go check out 'Hangover III.' I think there's enough out there for both."
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