Showing that Warner Bros.’ marketing department has a good sense of humor about itself, the first poster for The Hangover 3, the final installment of the lucrative and bawdy comedy series, has popped up online.

It should seem familiar to Harry Potter fans, directly mimicking one of the posters used to promote Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows back in 2011, suggesting a finale of high-end chaos and smoldering apocalypse, while also preceding the first official trailer for The Hangover Part III which will release later today.

Early rumors about The Hangover 3 suggested that the film is going to break the formula of the previous two installments; rather than force the Wolf Pack into a morning-after whodunit where they try to figure out what they did the night before, director Todd Phillips – who also co-wrote and produced – claimed that he’s putting their antics on the road. Further details were revealed when Zach Galifianakis spilled on the true motivator behind the third picture’s plot, which will apparently revolve around the gang springing Galifianakis’ character, Alan, from a mental institution following the death of his father.

Alan feels like a natural fit for the loony bin, but the real pull here may be the bit about his dad. In fact, that entire synopsis puts The Hangover 3 more in league with a heist film such as Ocean’s 11 than the other Hangover movies. If altering the formula wasn’t enough, giving the guys a real reason to unleash their unique brand of anarchic pandemonium on Las Vegas once more should be all the reason anyone needs to give the film a shot. And this time it sounds like it’ll all be much more intentional, which is enough to make the entire exercise more interesting than The Hangover 2. Check out the poster below:

At the same time the poster promises a level of mayhem it probably won’t live up to, with the world burning in the background as Leslie Chow (embodied by Ken Jeong once more) and Alan face off for some form of climactic showdown or another. This is nothing more than satirical advertising that’s hinging on fan familiarity with another franchise. It’s a great image, just one that the movie most likely won’t build toward. Which is sort of a shame, because moving away from the blueprint used for the first two movies is one thing, but taking the story to a totally gonzo, unexpectedly apocalyptic place would be another entirely.

Does this poster convince you that you should see The Hangover 3? Or did the previous movie make your mind up for you?

The Hangover Part III hits theaters May 24, 2013.

Source: Warner Bros.