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'21 Jump Street' Opens Strong, Knocks Out 'The Lorax'

'21 Jump Street' Opens Strong, Knocks Out 'The Lorax'
3/19/2012 1:38 PM ET

With an easy to grasp concept and a couple of noteworthy stars in the cast, "21 Jump Street" had no problem finding its intended adult demographic over the weekend, as the R-rated action-comedy hauled in a chart-topping $35 million, according to studio estimates. Meanwhile, "The Lorax" had yet another strong weekend for distributor Universal and Will Ferrell's limited release comedy at least made it into the top ten, though a $2.2 million opening won't likely lead to a long theatrical run.

Starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, "21 Jump Street" proved to have the perfect combination of an established action star and one of the top comedic actors currently in the movies. "21 Jump Street" racked up an impressive $11,000 per venue at 3,121 total theaters this weekend, which was more than enough to finally push "The Lorax" out of the top box office position. With a production budget of just $42 million, "21 Jump Street" already looks like a substantial commercial success, giving Tatum his second box office hit in as many months.

Moving forward, "21 Jump Street" also seems to be in very good position to retain a high percentage of the adult demographic, as there aren't many R-rated options hitting theaters in the near future. Backed by very positive critical reviews (86% Rotten Tomatoes rating), the Sony/Columbia distribution should put together a few more strong weekends and the $100 million domestic plateau looks to be well within reach. Look for "21 Jump Street" to end up as one of the top earning R-rated comedies of 2012.

While mainstream audiences poured in to see "21 Jump Street," a small sector turned to Will Ferrell's comedy "Casa De Mi Padre," pushing it to a quiet opening of $2.20 million. Released at just 382 total theaters, "Casa De Mi Padre" clearly didn't have much confidence from Lionsgate despite Ferrell heading the cast, which should translate to a fairly brief overall run in theaters. "Casa De Mi Padre" will still pull in some of the Ferrell faithful over the next couple weeks, but it should slip out of the top ten very shortly and likely won't be much of a box office factor.

The same could not be said of "The Lorax," the family film that continues to rack up big numbers for distributor Universal. After three weekends, "The Lorax" is up to a year-best $158 million in the U.S. and is only now starting to get released overseas. With a production budget of just $70 million, "The Lorax" also cost a fragment of the most recent Pixar films and animation studio Illumination Entertainment looks to be a major player in the family film market moving forward.

While audiences poured in to see "The Lorax" once again, the weekend turned out to be another rough one for franchise hopeful "John Carter." After a very disappointing opening, "John Carter" dropped more than 55% from its opening totals and ended up with just $13.52 million in second weekend revenue, suggesting that the fan base is already jumping ship. With an enormous production budget of $250 million and a 10-day domestic total of just $53 million, "John Carter" is looking like a major flop, though steady overseas numbers should at least salvage it from being a complete bust for Disney.

Next weekend, we'll see if the massively popular book series "The Hunger Games" can translate to the big screen, as Lionsgate gets set to launch its prospective action franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence. The month will wrap the following weekend with the launching of Snow White revision "Mirror, Mirror" and big-budget sequel "Wrath of the Titans."

Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 3/16/12 - 3/18/12 (In Millions), [RTT Prediction]:

1. 21 Jump Street (Sony/Columbia): $35 [$38]

2. The Lorax (Universal): $22.80 [$21]

3. John Carter (Disney): $13.52 [$14.5]

4. Project X (Warner Brothers): $4.01 [$6]

5. A Thousand Words (Paramount): $3.75 [$2.9]

6. Act of Valor (Relativity): $3.68 [$3.5]

7. Safe House (Universal): $2.80 [$2.80]

8. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Warner Brothers): $2.46 [$1.8]

9. Casa De Mi Padre (Lionsgate): $2.20 [N/A]

10. This Means War (Fox): $2.13 [N/A]

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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