Audiences have proven in the past that they'll flock to film remakes of beloved (and on occasion, not so beloved) television shows. The huge opening weekend of '21 Jump Street' proves something that's just plain satisfying to know: they'll also flock to film remakes of beloved television shows that happen to actually be, well, good. Actually, it's the only film in the top ten this week with a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (86%, if you were wondering).
1. 21 Jump Street: $35,000,000 ($35,000,000)
2. Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: $22,800,000 ($158,400,000)
3. John Carter: $13,515,000 ($53,172,000)
4. Project X: $4,005,000 ($$48,131,000)
5. A Thousand Words: $3,750,000 ($12,103,000)
6. Act of Valor: $3,678,000 ($62,398,000)
7. Safe House: $2,800,000 ($120,200,000)
8. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island: $2,460,000 ($95,066,000)
9. Casa De Mi Padre: $2,200,000 ($2,200,000)
10. This Means War: $2,125,000 ($50,525,000)
Is this a case of good filmmaking triumphing over hype? Nah, it's just '21 Jump Street' nabbing a terrific weekend with zero competition and raking in great big piles of dough, which Sony executives will bathe in like Scrooge McDuck, laughing uproariously while they polish their monocles. They can also take pleasure in knowing that the $35,000,000 opening gross broke a box office record. Of course, that "box office record" is "biggest opening for a comedy set in a high school," but hey...a box office record is a box office record is a box office record, amiright?
Of the three other new releases that opened on Friday, only 'Casa De Mi Padre' has something to brag about, but with only $2,200,000, those bragging rights are severely limited. Still, something has to be said about Will Ferrell's star power when he can take the lead in a bizarre, foreign language comedy that's playing in less than 400 theaters and have it open in the top ten. Since its a film that exists almost solely as an oddity, consider this a token theatrical release for a Ferrell comedy. This is the kind of movie that will find its true following on DVD.
Elsewhere, 'Jeff, Who Lives At Home' did Duplass Brothers business rather than Jason Segel business ($840,000 in 282 theaters) and 'Seeking Justice' did Nicolas Cage Entering the Depressing Twilight of His Career business ($260,000 in 231 theaters).
Although the scarcity of new releases meant a tremendous showing for '21 Jump Street', it also means that most of the top ten looks anemic at best. The biggest casualty of the bunch continues to be 'John Carter', which continues to suffer at the hands of the Worst. Marketing Campaign. Ever. When you combine the film's already disastrous reputation with the polarizing reaction it's had on audiences (ranging from modern gem to unwatchable mess), it's obvious that John Carter is the 'Speed Racer' of 2012. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on where you fall in the "modern gem or unwatchable mess" scale. In any case, with a two week take of $53,172,000, 'John Carter' is officially financial toast, even though the film is continuing to do reasonably well overseas.
In other news, 'The Lorax' took in another $22,800,000, which brings the film's total gross to $158,400,000 and makes $200 million inevitable. The lack of family competition and the fact that children and their long-suffering parents seem to dig the film should keep those numbers steady and consistent for the next few weeks, especially since the next month or so seems oddly devoid of big family releases. With that taken into account, $250 million remains a definite possibility, but it'll take a true family film drought to bring this thing to $300 million.
As for everything else? Placeholders, really. There's nothing else keeping 'Project X,' 'Act of Valor,' 'Safe House,' 'A Thousand Words,' 'This Means War' and 'Journey 2' in the top ten except for the fact that they happen to exist at this very moment. They'll soon begin to quietly vanish from the box office charts, like tears in rain.