hangover ii opening 'The Hangover Part II' starts its box office binge earlyIf its earliest box-office returns are any indication, “The Hangover Part II” is headed for a huge opening weekend.

The movie earned $10.4 million at midnight screenings Thursday (May 26), kick-starting a long Memorial Day weekend that now forecasts at better than $100 million. It could also challenge “The Matrix Reloaded” for the best three-day opening by an R-rated movie of all time ($91.8 million).

The overall box office should enjoy a big weekend as well, with “Kung Fu Panda 2” also opening and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “Bridesmaids” both likely to do decent business. Some projections have this weekend even surpassing the all-time Memorial Day weekend record of $246.3 million, set in 2007.

“The Hangover Part II” hasn’t earned very many good reviews so far (in contrast to its predecessor), but that isn’t likely to do much harm to its box-office prospects. Projections for its five-day take range from $90 million on the low end to as much as $150 million, but most of them fall about in the middle of that at the $125 million range.

“Kung Fu Panda 2,” meanwhile, is expected to match or slightly surpass the $60 million the first movie made in 2008.

What tops your must-see list for Memorial Day weekend?

Posted by:Rick Porter