22 Jump Street, the comedy sequel starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill topped this weekend’s box office sales. The film poured in box office gross sales of $60 million after debuting Friday evening, narrowly eclipsing How to Train Your Dragon 2. Despite opening with $50 million showings in 4,235 locations, the DreamWorks Animation project managed to come up short versus its competition.
Not only did Father’s Day weekend come with two major box office splashes but also the Sony Pictures product actually netted the second highest total opening for an R-rated comedy in box office history. The Hangover II grossed just under $86 million back in 2011. The film’s predecessor, 21 Jump Street was originally made into a movie in 2012. The breakthrough picture was directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord. It went on to receive critical acclaim.
The immense popularity of the 21 Jump Street sequel, this weekend, may have appealed to a wider audience than expected. Many “pop-culture” references were written into its script. Former California Governor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently deceased poet Maya Angelou and comedian Tracy Morgan who is still recovering from a near fatal automobile crash are all indirectly referenced. According to Forbes magazine, the film is reported to have a $50 million budget. Sony also scored the fifth largest film opening for a comedy of all time, while Miller and Lord have also created their own box office history. The Director duo’s earlier project, The LEGO Movie sold $69 million back in February, marking the first time in history that Directors have reached a $60 million plateau for two different films in the same year.
The $60 million top box office weekend for the Sony Picture is nearly double the $36 million debut of the its original. The gender demographic matched favorably for the raunchy comedy as a reported 50 percent of females and 56 percent of males under 25 provided the audience. Continuing the trend of R-rated, comedies to top the box office this summer include The Hangover Trilogy and Neighbors. According to Sony Pictures President of worldwide distribution, Rory Bruer, 22 Jump Street’s weekend topping box office success can be attributed to “all the stars” being aligned rather than an elaborate scheme.
When referencing his online chemistry with co-star Hill, Hollywood “heart-throb” Tatum refereed to the pair as “lucky.” He also claimed that while Hill and he are friends, oftentimes actors “like each other’s work” but do not enjoy working on a project together, which is why he considers their relationship to be rather fortunate. Last week, a CNN article referred to the two actor’s lucky camaraderie, on and off screen, as a “bromance.”
The Jump Street series is comically spun based off the 80’s television show that starred actor Johnny Depp. Tatum plays the character of Gregory Jenko, with Hill manning the role of Morton Schmidt. The two characters grow up as high school rivals but later reunite and become friends as they join the police force and infiltrate a high school working undercover.
With huge success this weekend 22 Jump Street affiliates, hope the comedy can propel the series into the top stratosphere of movie franchises. Over the past decade X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hangover have all been consistent box office smashes. The Washington Post fittingly refers to 22 Jump Street as approaching “sublime heights of shamelessness.” Only time will tell if the comedy is on par with its top box office debut.
By Brandon Wright