Weekend Box Office – 21 JUMP STREET Nabs $35 Million Opening

     March 18, 2012


After the high drama of last weekend’s John Carter opening, this morning’s box office is a bit anti-climactic: a comedy that was expected to take first place took first place.  From 3,121 locations 21 Jump Street earned an estimated $35 million.  But, as the only wide release of the frame, Jump Street could not keep 2012 in the black by itself.  For the first time this year the overall box office came in slightly below 2011 levels. But hey, it was nice while it lasted.

Title Weekend Total
1 21 Jump Street $35,000,000 $35
2 The Lorax $22,820,000 $158.4
3 John Carter $13,515,000 $53.1
4 Project X $4,005,000 $48.1
5 A Thousand Words $3,750,000 $12.1
6 Act of Valor $3,678,000 $62.3
7 Safe House $2,755,000 $120.2
8 Journey 2 $2,460,000 $95
9 Casa De Mi Padre $2,200,000 $2.2
10 This Means War $2,125,000 $50.5

21-jump-street-posterGetting back to the good news, the folks behind 21 Jump Street have a lot to be happy about this weekend.  Along with claiming the ‘number one movie in America’ title, their first weekend estimate came in well above the mid-twenty million that Sony was projecting.  Based on R-rated comedy comps, 21 Jump Street was on par with 2005’s Wedding Crashers and 2007’s Superbad (not adjusted for inflation), which is pretty good company to keep.  In addition, 21 Jump Street also claimed one of the highest-ever starts for a television-to-screen adaptation.  2008’s Get Smart ($38.6 million) and 2003’s S.W.A.T ($37 million) opened higher, but both of those were released during the summer.

21 Jump Street started life in 1987 as one of the first dramas on the fledgling Fox TV network.  The series ran for four years and made Johnny Depp a star, though it was also responsible for the career of Richard Grieco. Guess which actor was asked to shoot a cameo for the movie?  Written by Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall (who also shares credit on the current Project X), Jump Street was budgeted at a relatively-thrifty $45 million.  Even with a certain teen-book sensation waiting in the wings, incredible reviews and a distinct target audience should keep Jump Street in the money for the next few weeks or even few years, if the planned sequel becomes a reality.

Once upon a time, Andrew Stanton and Disney thought there might be a John Carter sequel or two; that seems like such a long, long time ago now.  After its much-publicized stumble last weekend, John Carter fell-off by an estimated 55% this week, bringing its domestic total to a disappointing $53.1 million.  When the film’s debut backlash is coupled with the arrival of The Hunger Games next weekend, JC’s domestic prospects are looking pretty dark; but what about the international market?  One week ago John Carter was off to a decent start in foreign markets, earning $70.6 million without major territories like China and Japan included.  Current international estimates give John Carter another $40.7 million ($10.4 from China alone) for a worldwide total of just under $180 million in ten days.  If not for the film’s $250 million pricetag, I’m sure that number would look pretty good.

casa-de-mi-padre-will-ferrell-nick-offermanLooking pretty damn good at a fraction of the price is the indie-release, Casa De Mi Padre.  The Spanish-language comedy starring Will Ferrell launched in 372 locations on Friday, surprising many when it earned enough to break into the day’s top ten. Originally expected to fall short of this weekend’s chart, Casa De Mi Padre managed to earn estimated $2.2 million and hold on to its spot in the top ten – leaping ahead of films like last weekend’s Silent House, which was off by 69% for a ten day total of just $10.5 million.

Low performers like Silent House helped put an end to 2012’s box office winning streak, despite the fact that 21 Jump Street came out 45% higher than Limitless did on this weekend one year ago.  If we can’t claim an unbroken winning streak, however, we can at least take solace in the fact that, next weekend, the space-money continuum is about to be broken in a big way.  Not only will The Hunger Games crush the $23.7 million of 2011’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, it has a real chance of breaking the all-time March record of $116.1 million set by Alice in Wonderland in 2010. Think it’ll happen?  Chime in below.


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