‘The Hangover Part II’ Is Now the Biggest R-Rated Comedy of All Time

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The Wolf Pack may have a habit of forgetting what happened to them last night, but they’ll never neglect this piece of movie trivia.

According to Deadline Hollywood, this past weekend’s global box office grosses of $21.4 million (accumulated from roughly 5,800 screens in 55 markets) means that the successful sequel has created a significant bit of history: its total worldwide gross now stands at $488 million, surpassing the original’s $468 million to become the biggest R-rated comedy ever. And what’s more, the combined worldwide box office for both films is set to break the elusive $1 billion barrier. Truly, we are lost for words.

What’s somewhat surprising about this impressive feat is that the follow up to the 2009 smash hit has arguably fewer laugh out loud moments than its predecessor. Indeed, the reviews were far more lukewarm second time around — 35% on Rotten Tomatoes is not exactly stellar, with only eight of the 37 top critics liking it. Hell, even Peter Travers of Rolling Stone dissed it (“Somebody must have roofied me. I left The Hangover Part II feeling dazed and abused, wondering how bad things happened to such a good comedy”) and there isn’t a movie he hasn’t met that he didn’t get on with famously.

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What conclusions can we draw? Well, the original was such a phenomenon that the fan base was clearly in place. My ‘Friday Flicks’ column from May 27 did start off by noting how well The Hangover tested with women, though the final words stated it probably wouldn’t make half a billion dollars. That prediction is surely well and truly busted, but if we did want to be pedantic, we could state that the movie isn’t rated ‘R’ in every territory, which obviously makes it easier for the target audience to gain entry.

But now is not the time to be snippy but more bow in admiration to director Todd Phillips — now firmly part of Hollywood’s A-List — who has made Warner Brothers (which, like NewsFeed, is part of the Time Warner family) unlikely to forget what he’s managed to pull off. As Alan (Zach Galifianakis) points out: “When a monkey nibbles on a penis, it’s funny in any language.” No kidding.

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