Warner Bros. has decided to release "The Hangover Part III" a day earlier, bumping its theatrical bow up from May 24 to May 23, the studio told TheWrap on Wednesday.
Warner Bros. declined to comment on the reasoning, but with Universal's "Fast & Furious 6" hitting theaters the same holiday weekend, it's not hard to see why it wants the jump on the competition.
Both billion-dollar franchises are aimed at the same male audience and both dream of topping the previous films' wild success. When "The Hangover II" was released over Memorial Day weekend in 2011, it earned nearly $86 million domestically, while "Fast Five" scored just over $86 million domestically when it opened less than a month earlier.
To make Warner Bros. execs' palms even sweatier, Twentieth Century Fox animated "Epic" is looking to take home a large slice of the box-office pie this Memorial Day weekend, as well. And Paramount's "Star Trek Into Darkness," which hits theaters a week earlier on May 17, will still be in the hunt for more money, too.
"It's a good move," BoxOffice.com editor-in-chief Phil Contrino told TheWrap. "It takes some of the pressure off that weekend. Now, conceivably, someone could see 'Hangover III' on Thursday and 'Fast and Furious' Saturday. I think this will work for Warner Bros."
"Hangover" director Todd Phillips acknowledged the star power of his competition last month at CinemaCon.
"Come on it's f--king Vin Diesel and The Rock," he added. "What the f--k!"
When prodded by TheWrap for a response, a Universal spokeswoman issued a confident challenge: "Bring it on Todd Phillips."
Variety first reported this story.