There’s been talk of a sequel to 2009’s smash hit comedy The Hangover ever since it debuted last summer to great reviews, a strong opening weekend and a total of nearly half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office.

Rumors about the sequel included a possible setting in Thailand, which was later shot down by director Todd Phillips. That originated shortly after the film’s release from star Zach Galifianakis and could have been just one of many ideas they had while basking in the success of the first movie. Later, Ed Helms revealed that co-star Justin Bartha (the dude who was supposed to get married in The Hangover) would be back, hopefully making the group not just a trio anymore.

Rumors aside, Deadline is now reporting that The Hangover 2 is officially a go with the principal cast locked down. No surprise there.

Before The Hangover even released, the buzz and early screenings of the movie were in such high spirits that Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures knew they had something special in their hands. For that reason, they commissioned screenwriter Scot Armstrong to pen a script for another movie, anticipating that they may want to go ahead with a sequel as soon as they can.

The one hitch with that plan was that they would need the cast for the sequel, one they didn’t have contracted for a second installment. The studios never expected that this would spawn a potential franchise and on the first film, the actors only made about $300,000 each.

When it came time to negotiate for the sequel, the principal cast and their team of representatives made damn sure that they’d get their payday this time, and according to the report, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis are each getting approximately $5 million each plus 4% of first gross. There’s no mention of signing Justin Bartha so we can assume he’s again playing a minor role in the sequel.

The lottery win of a contract goes to Todd Phillips who, after the insane money of the first installment, has banked over $50 million so far on The Hangover (he had forfeited a specific salary up front and took 15% of the gross instead to ensure the film would have its $34 million budget). His contract for the sequel gives him $10 million and 10% of gross with a stipulation that if this movie makes anywhere near the money of the first, he’d at least get what he earned on the first.

They better hope this movie has the word of mouth that the first one did – that’s a hefty investment in the people involved ($25 mill on cast and director alone plus 22% gross). There’s also that bigger budget to manage for the sequel as well…

Are you excited to see the boys in another crazy comedic adventure?

The Hangover 2 is expected to start production this October for a possible release Memorial Day weekend in late May, 2011.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes

Source: Deadline