Sony laffer poised to unseat 'Lorax'

Though “21 Jump Street” is this weekend’s only wide release, the 2012 domestic box office will likely keep its perfect streak of weekend-over-weekend victories rolling at 11, thanks to the film’s mid-to-high $20 million tracking and holdovers “The Lorax” and “John Carter.”

Bizzers expect Sony-MGM’s R-rated comedy “Jump Street” to come out on top with a possible $30 million-upside — though if “The Lorax” drops in the 30% range, it could contend for the final box-office crown before Lionsgate unleashes “The Hunger Games” next weekend.

The year-to-date box office continues to outpace 2011 by roughly 17%, even after last weekend when Disney’s soft $30.2 million-opening for $250 million “John Carter” helped lift weekend totals up 5% over last year. “Carter” is projected to drop in the mid-40% range, which would yield a soph-sesh take between $16 million and $17 million.

The Disney tentpole has seen OK mid-week perfs, with a cume of $37.6 million through Wednesday. “Lorax,” however, did better in its third frame, with some mid-week grosses actually up over last week. Toon so far has cumed $132.2 million domestically.

U bows “Lorax” this weekend in Russia, the pic’s first major overseas market, though “Carter” should win international bragging rights, boosted by the pic’s expansion today into China. “Carter” tallied $81.7 million internationally as of March 14; “Lorax” surpassed $2 million, but from only six markets.

At the domestic specialty B.O., several pics bow aggressively, including Lionsgate’s Will Ferrell Spanish-lingo “Casa de mi padre” via Pantelion at 382 locations, and Par Vantage’s “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” at 254.

Roadside Attractions’ adult laffer “Friends with Kids,” which debuted strong last weekend with $2 million from only 374 locations, expands today to 640 Stateside engagements.

Definite interest for “Jump Street” is strongest among men under 25. But as with Warner Bros.’ “Project X,” which successfully bowed to north of $20 million three weeks ago and has cumed $43 million, male teenagers could have difficulty buying tix to “Jump Street” due to the film’s R rating.

Based on popularity for the original 1980s TV show and favorable reviews, “Jump Street” should also appeal to adults. Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, pic toplines Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as newbie police officers sent undercover at a local high school to expose a drug operation.

While Warner’s $12 million-budgeted “X” cost less than “Jump Street,” at $42 million, the latter film still looks to be a profitable venture for Sony, considering the film’s pre-opening projections.

Also unspooling this weekend at the specialty B.O., Drafthouse Films’ “The FP” bows at 29 locations, while IFC’s Belgian Cannes entry pic “The Kid with a Bike” opens at three.

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