Box Office: '22 Jump Street' Tops

22 Jump Street” edged out “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ to capture the weekend box office crown as the two hotly anticipated sequels swooped into multiplexes just in time for Father’s Day.

The undercover cop comedy reunited Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and had the two leads matriculate to college to the tune of $60 million across 3,306 locations. Its opening is the second biggest for an R-rated comedy in history, right behind “The Hangover Part II” ($85.9 million) and just ahead of the first “Sex and the City” ($57 million) cinematic adventure.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ nipped at Hill and Tatum’s heels, soaring to $50 million across 4,235 locations.

“It’s extraordinary to have two films open to $50 million on the same weekend,” said Chris Aronson, Twentieth Century Fox domestic distribution chief. “Any time you have a PG animated film opening against an R-rated comedy, that’s the kind of competitve environment you’re looking for.”

Going into the weekend, most analysts predicted that the DreamWorks Animation film would be the highest-grossing film at the paternal appreciation day box office, but “22 Jump Street” was able to offer up enough pop culture references and rowdy hijinks to bring in older audiences. It also didn’t deviate from the formula that made “21 Jump Street” a standout in 2012, bringing back not only the stars, but directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

“All the stars were aligned for us,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures president of worldwide distribution. “We had great reviews, great stars, audiences loved it and Lord and Miller know funny and executed beautifully.”

“22 Jump Street” nearly doubled the $36 million debut of the original film. It played well to both genders, with an opening weekend audience that was evenly divided among males and females. More than half of the audience was under 25, with 44% aged 25 and over. The Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film carries a production budget in the high $50 million range when rebates are taken into account.

The picture dropped 25% on Saturday from $25 million to $18.6 million, while the “Dragon” sequel fell a more modest 7% from $18.5 million to $17 million. Internationally, “22 Jump Street” grossed an estimated $6.9 million from 14 territories, bringing its overseas bounty to $20.6 million, while “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ scooped up $24.8 million in 25 markets, for a foreign take of $26.5 million.

“22 Jump Street” continues the strong run for R-rated comedies at the summer box office, a rostrum of successes that includes “Ted,” the “Hangover” trilogy and May’s “Neighbors.”

Bruer suggested that R-rated comedies are popular of late because with an ample dose of four-letter words and innuendo, “They’re very relevant to how people actually speak and the things that make them laugh.”

If the Sony distribution chief has his way, “23 Jump Street” will eventually be kicking down the doors at the box office.

“When you’ve got two guys with great chemistry you want to see it again and again,” said Bruer.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ cost $145 million to produce and was distributed by 20th Century Fox as part of a pact with DreamWorks Animation. Going into the weekend, it maintained a slight lead in pre-sales and though it fell behind “22 Jump Street,” analysts predict it will benefit from a lack of family fare at the multiplexes.

“You’ll see this movie hold up really well in the weeks to come,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “It’s going to have the market largely to itself until the middle of July when [‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’] opens.”

The film eclipsed the first “Dragon’s” $43.7 million bow, and skewed female, 53% to 47%. 56% of the audience was under 25 years old.

Among the holdovers, last weekend’s breakout champ “The Fault in Our Stars” fell sharply, dropping 67% to $15.7 million. Still with a domestic gross of $81.7 million, this $12 million production may end up with summer’s most enviable profit margins.

In its second weekend, “Edge of Tomorrow” seemed to benefit from positive word-of-mouth and reviews, falling 44% to $16.1 million, although with a price tag of $178 million, its $56.6 million domestic haul still ranks as a disappointment.

“Maleficent” also showed impressive legs. Despite facing a challenge on the family film front from “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” the fantasy adventure hung on to rack up  another $19.8 million. Its domestic total now stands at $164 million, and globally the re-imagining of the “Sleeping Beauty” tale took in an estimated $56 million. With a global haul of $436 million, “Maleficent” now stands as Angelina Jolie’s second highest grossing live-action movie of all-time, behind “Mr & Mrs Smith” ($47 million).

In its fourth week of release, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” took in $9.7 million, driving its domestic total to $205.9 million. It’s one of the few summer tentpoles to have passed $200 million stateside, with film such as “Godzilla” ($191.3 million) and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ ($198.4 million) huffing and puffing their way past that benchmark. Hot and fast is the typical burn rate at the box office of late.

Among specialty films, Open Road’s “Chef” grossed $2.2 million in 1,100 locations, pushing its total to $14.1 million, while Fox Searchlight’s “Belle” added $510,000 to its $8.6 million take. Nearly a month before its domestic debut, Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” snagged $468,000 in such foreign territories as Germany, Austria and Switzerland, bringing its total to $1 million.

If the estimates hold, the domestic weekend box office will be down roughly 7% from last year when “Man of Steel” muscled its way to a $116.6 million opening.

 

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