In a move that seems to be about commerce as much as comedy, Warner Bros has started the process on a third installment of The Hangover. Though my sources say there are no deals and that the players involved won’t really get cracking on it for months, it seems likely that Craig Mazin will be writing the three-quel. Reports are surfacing based on an interview he did to promote the film; others involved have hinted at the third pic as well. While Mazin doesn’t have a deal, after Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures just announced that the comedy crossed the $200 million worldwide mark and became the fastest comedy to surpass that number, developing the third film seems inevitable. The picture also blew past the Memorial Day weekend record for an R rated film.
Warner Bros hasn’t announced it’s going for three, and the timing of this film actually took longer than the last one: The Hangover Part II was commissioned before the original picture opened, because test audiences responded so well that Warner Bros knew it had a big hit. Now, there are hurdles to overcome. Warner Bros threatened to scrap The Hangover Part II because of salary disputes with stars Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms. Those guys were paid less than $1 million collectively to star in the first blockbuster, but luckily for the cast, they had no options for a sequel. Their reps smartly dug their heels in, and the trio each got around $5 million against 4% of gross, which ought to mean pretty good backend paydays for The Wolf Pack. Todd Phillips got around $10 million against 10% of the gross, which means that if the sequel does near the original’s $467 million in worldwide gross, he’ll make as much or more as the original, where he gambled his fee and made around $50 million. He waived his fee to become an equity owner in the film, a move he made as a concession so that the studio would make the R-rated movie for $34 million with Galifianakis, Cooper and Helms (Warner Bros wanted bigger stars and a higher budget). Just imagine what the three-quel negotiations will be like for The Wolf Pack, who do not have options for the third film. If The Hangover Part II continues to perform at this rate, the trio will be in for an even bigger payday. But that’s a future Hangover headache for Jeff Robinov, and an article for down the road. At the moment, no hangover ever felt this good to the brass at Warner Bros and Legendary.