Box Office Report: '21 Jump Street' Off to Strong Start, Could Cross $30 Mil

12:19 PM PST 03/16/2012 by Pamela McClintock
Columbia Pictures

With spring break beginning for college students and kids alike, both "Jump Street" and holdover "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" are generating big matinee numbers; jury is out on which film will win weekend.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum's R-rated comedy 21 Jump Street is laughing it up at the domestic box office and could cross $30 million in its debut.

The comedic take on the classic TV show is performing on par with fellow Sony comedy Bad Teacher, which grossed $12.2 million on its opening Friday and $31.6 million for the weekend.

FILM REVIEW: 21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street raked in an impressive $700,000 in Thursday midnight runs domestically and enjoyed a strong opening day in Australia, where it earned roughly $735,000 on Thursday.

The R-rated comedy isn't the only film prospering at the North American box office. With 24 percent of schoolchildren out for spring break, Universal's holdover Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is doing sizable business as well and could gross $10 million to $11 million for the day, putting it in a dead heat with 21 Jump Street for the weekend (34 percent of college kids are now out for spring break in a similar boost for 21 Jump Street).

From Sony and MGM, 21 Jump Street features Hill and Tatum as bumbling police officers who go undercover in a high school to bust up a drug ring.

The TV show, which aired on the Fox network from 1987-91, was far more serious and is famous for launching Johnny Depp's acting career (Depp makes a cameo in the remake).

PHOTOS: '21 Jump Street' Premiere: Red Carpet Arrivals

Even if it doesn't snag the weekend crown, 21 Jump Street is bound to be a victory for Sony and MGM, which partnered on the $42 million film. It has earned stellar reviews.

Hill produced 21 Jump Street with Michael Bacall -- who penned the script -- and Neal H. Moritz (the late Stephen J. Cannell also has a producing credit).The movie also stars Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ellie Kemper, Rob Riggle and Ice Cube.

Males under and over the age of 25 are virtually tied in terms of interest, according to prerelease tracking. Those demos are followed by younger females, then older females.

Box-office observers also will be watching to see how much Disney's ill-fated John Carter falls during its second weekend. The big-budget tentpole debuted to a meek $30.2 domestically and has grossed $37.6 million to date domestically.

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