Nicole Sperling
June 12, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Brace yourself, Hollywood. This Hangover isn’t going away anytime soon. The bawdy bachelor-party flick — which cost just $31 million to make — hauled in $45 million its opening weekend, bouncing Disney·Pixar’s Up from the No. 1 slot and completely annihilating Will Ferrell’s Land of the Lost. Only two other R-rated comedies have opened to bigger numbers: Sex and the City ($57 million) and American Pie 2 ($45.1 million). But both of those had built-in fan bases. All Hangover had was journeyman supporting actor Bradley Cooper, L.A.-based comic Zach Galifianakis, and The Office‘s Ed Helms. Oh, and a tiger.

Because Warner Bros. had no stars to sell, they relentlessly flogged the movie itself. The studio screened it more than 400 times, sent the cast around to college campuses, and plastered the entire country with posters. So what does The Hangover‘s phenomenal performance mean? Director Todd Phillips and Old School writing partner Scot Armstrong began developing the sequel more than two months ago, though they remain mum on any details. (”I don’t want to put it out there,” Phillips tells EW. ”We’ll get attacked.”) And — thanks to this and the Judd Apatow films — Hollywood may be willing to take more chances on comedies without marquee names attached. ”It’s good to know that you don’t have to have stars [to get audiences],” says WB marketing president Sue Kroll. ”But if you don’t, you better have a great movie.”

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