In this weekend’s box office battle of the sequels, 22 Jump Street remained firmly out front after its strong Friday opening. Jump Street earned an estimated $60 million through Sunday, giving it the second-highest R-rated comedy debut of all time. Meanwhile, How to Train Your Dragon 2 took in an estimated $50 million. That beats the original film’s $43.7 million debut, but remains far below what many expected.
|1.||22 Jump Street||$60,000,000||$60|
|2.||How to Train Your Dragon 2||$50,000,000||$50|
|4.||The Fault in Our Stars||$15,725,000||$81.7|
|5.||Edge of Tomorrow||$16,175,000||$56.6|
|6.||X-Men: Days of Future Past||$9,500,000||$205.9|
|8.||A Million Ways to Die in the West||$3,077,000||$38.9|
Full story after the jump.
Looking back to last weekend’s box office analysis, this is certainly not the outcome I expected. Like many others, I had How to Train Your Dragon 2 on top with $70 million or more. Clearly, dabbling in box office predictions is a good way to make yourself look foolish, though on Dragon 2 there was good reason to believe I was on solid ground. Setting aside the fact that the first film was a worldwide phenomenon – a rare financial and critical hit – this summer lacks any other major animated releases, putting the sequel on course for a big opening and a very lucrative seasonal run. Now, just because How to Train Your Dragon 2 has come up a bit short this morning doesn’t mean that its future is lost. If Frozen proved anything, it is that a well-received family film can stretch its legs well into its second month in theatres.
But surprise or no, it’s only fair to honor the sequel that slayed DreamWorks Dragon. 22 Jump Street was not exactly an underdog entering the weekend race (it was expected to open at least 50% higher than its predecessor) but its decisive win over a heavily-favored opponent sure makes it look that way. Personally, I thought the weekend would play out as it did for Monsters University and World War Z this time last year: with the animated sequel on top but plenty of praise left over for the film in second place. In 2013, both films opened above expectations; this year 22 Jump Street gets to bask in the sun all by itself.
Back in March 2012, 21 Jump Street was a solid hit for Sony. Based on the 1980s TV series that made Johnny Depp a star, the big screen reboot opened with $36.3 million and went on to gross $138.4 million domestic and $201 million worldwide. That success guaranteed the follow-up a prestigious summer opening and, with reviews in the same range as the first film (83% on Rotten Tomatoes), it would have been a surprise if 22 Jump Street ultimately faltered out of the gate. As it turned out, the film has now secured the second-biggest debut ever for an R-rated comedy, between the $85.7 million of The Hangover Part II and the $54.4 million of Ted.
Of course, the danger of a big opening can be less-than stellar holds in the weeks that follow. Think of last month’s Godzilla, which took in a massive $93.1 million in its debut but has since failed to reach $200 million. 21 Jump Street had excellent holds in its first month, but its sequel already feels front-loaded. Despite its bigger opening weekend, 22 Jump Street could wind up on par with Neighbors, which is still holding well in its sixth week.
Speaking of front-loaded, The Fault in Our Stars got hit hard in its second frame. Last weekend’s number one film was down over 67% this weekend, bringing its domestic total up to $81.7 million after ten days. Steep drop or not, that’s a big number for a movie with a $12 million budget. Edge of Tomorrow held better than the romantic drama in its own sophomore frame (-44%), but because the sci-fi drama cost fifteen times more than The Fault in Our Stars, that particular statistic is kind of meaningless.
Now in its fourth week in theatres, X-Men: Days of Future Past passed the $200 million mark in domestic grosses. That puts it ahead of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which has yet to hit the same goal despite its three-week head start. Looking at worldwide grosses, Spidey remains ahead with over $700 million, compared to the mutant’s $633.8 million global haul. But in terms of franchise records, Days of Future Past is already the most successful global X-Men feature, while ASM 2 has a ways to go before it can claim to be even as successful as The Amazing Spider-Man, which earned over $757 million in 2012.
This weekend’s overall box office total came out about 8% behind last year, when Man of Steel made its debut. That gap should only grow bigger by next weekend, considering the two new releases – Think Like A Man Too and Jersey Boys – cannot hope to equal the strength of 2013’s Monsters University/World War Z double opening. In fact, the two new films combined are not expected to top $50 million, which is less than World War Z brought in on its own. Of course, Think Like A Man was a surprise hit in 2012 when it debuted with $33 million, so there’s a good chance that the sequel improves on those numbers. There’s also a chance that How to Train Your Dragon 2 rises to the occasion and claims first place. That would take a remarkable hold AND a bit of a stumble by Think Like A Man Too, but stranger things have certainly happened…