Todd Phillips: 'Hangover 3' Ending Is A Response To Critics

"The Hangover Part III" isn't like "The Hangover" or "The Hangover Part II" because it doesn't actually include any hangovers. While the first two films in the $1 billion franchise retraced the events of one crazy night in the lives of the Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis), "The Hangover Part III" finds the three heroes using their wiles to find Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), master criminal and mad man.

Why does the structure of "The Hangover Part III" differ from the previous films? Because of "The Hangover Part II," which was savaged by critics as a pale imitation of "The Hangover."

"[We were] very conscious of [that]," Cooper, who plays Phil in the series, told HuffPost Entertainment. "Just as conscious as we were the second time of adhering to the structure. I think that maybe, in retrospect, people say that ['Part II' didn't work], but if you had deviated from this formula the second movie, it wouldn't have been as successful. I think that we had part two with the structure, and with the third one, we could rely upon the audience's engagement with the characters to drive the narrative."

For director Todd Phillips, however, the decision to change things up for "Part III" wasn't so easy. In fact, he thought of doing another traditional "Hangover" adventure with the Wolfpack just to anger the critics of his franchise.

"The way that we would respond to those critics -- what we really wanted to do was do another wake-up movie," he told Vanity Fair in a recent online interview. "But we thought that that would be short-sighted because we had this other idea. The real response we wanted to do was, 'They wake up in Rio and this, that, and the other thing happened to them.'"

Instead of devoting an entire movie to his detractors, Phillips instead used the film's end-credits sequence to make his statement. "If you stay through the credits, you’ll see in typical 'Hangover' fashion we have another big credit moment that I think everyone will enjoy," he said. "The criticisms were really about the structure -- they didn't know how this could happen to the same guys twice. 'Who would ever have a night like that twice?' So we were like, 'Oh yeah? It's going to happen three times. F--k you.'"

"The Hangover Part III" is out now.

'The Hangover: Part III' L.A. Premiere