Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill‘s “22 Jump Street” turned its box office battle with “How to Train Your Dragon 2” into an R-rated laugher, winning the weekend with an impressive $60 million.
The DreamWorks Animation family film opened with $50 million, but Jenko and Schmidt — the undercover college cops the duo plays in the comedy seque — stole the show from the young viking Hiccup and his dragon Toothless with one of the best openings ever for an R-rated comedy.
Only 2011's “The Hangover Part 11,” with $85.9 million, grossed more in its first weekend. The debut for “22 Jump Street” outstripped those of “Sex and the City” ($57 million) and “Ted” ($54.4 million), and blew past the $36.7 million opening that the original “21 Jump Street” opened with in March of 2012.
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“Give big kudos to Jonah and Channing,” said Rory Bruer, distribution chief at Sony, which co-produced with MGM. “Their chemistry is something special. They work hard and play hard and love what they're doing; that shows, and audiences responded in a big way.”
Going into the weekend, analysts had projected debuts in the $55 million range for both films, with “Dragon 2” given a slight edge because it was summer's first major animated release and it was in 900 more theaters than the comedy.
But “22 Jump Street” got off to a fast start with a massive $25 million on Friday and never looked back. It turned into a date night movie — audiences were evenly split between men and women– and was able to hold off “Dragon 2.” The comedy directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“The LEGO Movie”) even topped “Dragon 2” on Saturday, when the kids film got a boost from the family crowd.
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“22 Jump Street” averaged roughly $18,520 in its 3,306 theaters, while “Dragon 2” took in around $11,810 at each of its 4,253 theaters, one of the largest rollouts for an animated film ever.
The big openings mark just the fourth time ever that two films have topped $50 million in the same weekend — and all have come in June. “Monsters University” and “World War Z” did it last year, “Prometheus” and “Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted” managed the feat in 2012 and “WALL-E” and “Wanted” pulled it off in 2008.