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Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s 21 Jump Street yukked it up at the Friday box office, racing past the competition and topping the domestic chart with $13.1 million.
The critically acclaimed comedic take on the classic TV show is on course for a $34 million to $36 million debut, one of the best openings for an R-rated comedy in more than a year.
Younger moviegoers, who made up 50 percent of the audience, gave 21 Jump Street a glowing A CinemaScore, while those over 50 gave it a C-, resulting in an overall B CinemaScore.
PHOTOS: David Strick’s Behind the Scenes of ’21 Jump Street’
The film’s strength among younger generations, as well as its ethnically diverse audience — 47 percent of Friday’s audience was non-white — bodes well for 21 Jump Street’s playability, as well as the fact that it played fairly evenly among the genders, with males making up 53 percent of those buying tickets and females, 47 percent.
21 Jump Street will easily wrest the weekend crown from Universal and Illumination’s hit Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which has ruled the domestic box office the past two weekends.
The Lorax continues to do good buinsess in its own right, grossing $6.7 million Friday for a projected $24.6 million weekend, putting its domestic gross just north of $160 million, by far the best showing of 2012.
PHOTOS: Film Stills From ’21 Jump Street’
Disney’s tentpole John Carter continued to struggle, falling 60 percent on its second Friday to an estimated $4 million and coming in No. 3 behind 21 Jump Street and Lorax. John Carter is expected to gross roughly $13 million for the weekend, putting its 10-day domestic gross just north of $52 million, far shy of the what it needs to do to make up for its $250 million budget.
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. 21 Jump Street is a victory for Sony and MGM, which partnered on the $42 million film. It has earned stellar reviews.
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).
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.
21 Jump Street is the only new nationwide release of the weekend–but it isn’t the only new title with big comedic names. Will Ferrell’s Spanish-language pic Casa De Mi Padre is making its limited debut, opening in 382 theaters across the country and grossing an estimated $760,000 on Friday for a projected $2.5 million weekend. The Lionsgate film came in No. 9 on Friday.
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