5TH UPDATE, SUNDAY AM: If you’re sick of summer sequels, then this weekend stunk for you. But the public isn’t, so this was another great weekend in terms of grosses for the top pair of newcomers. #1 is 22 Jump Street (Sony/Columbia Pictures/MGM – 3,306 theaters) opening with a hot $25M (including $5.5M from Thursday late shows) Friday. West Coast late shows did push that total higher. But Saturday cooled down -26%. The Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill laugher has a real shot at $60M, or at least $10M to $15M more than expected. Not bad for a cost the studios claim is only $50M. That would make this the 2nd biggest R-rated comedy ever, behind only Hangover 2 (which sucked, as you know). This film tested higher than any R-rated comedy in Sony Pictures’ history – although testing is notoriously wrong. But not only did critics approve of this pic by giving it 83% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but so did audiences who gave it an A- Cinemascore to keep the word-of-mouth strong. (21 Jump Street received only a B.) Exit polling showed the movie playing to 50% male and 50% female, with 56% of the audience under age 25, and 44% aged 25 and over. Keeping the interest high were returning directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs).
This weekend, the film bowed in 15 markets are made $6.9M for an international cume of $20.6M. Last weekend the film took in $12M from the UK for one of the top comedy openings of all time.
The marketing challenge was to rope in a broad dual moviegoing audience so Sony capitalized early with set visits in November and the first trailers in December. Key television premieres, finales & awards shows were secured along with the NHL Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA playoffs where a blown-out custom promotion featured Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill & Ice Cube interviewing legendary NBA duos about working as partners. There also were custom promotions on MTV, Adult Swim, and Comedy Central, where a partnership with @Midnight saw the entire show devoted to the film. The Social Media campaign was pushed hard: Rentrak’s social score (social conversation, most notably Twitter) rated at 100 index. A multi-pronged viral video campaign tapped into the YouTube generation. One of the standouts among the digital initiatives was the creation of the fictitious Metro City State College. In addition to New York, London, and Dublin publicity junkets and LA premiere, Jonah and Channing served as Grand Marshals at NASCAR’s Pocono 400. The pair did appearance on Entertainment Weekly, GQ, GMA, Kelly and Michael, Tonight, BET, Kimmel, Conan, and Chelsea.
#2 is PG-rated and 3D How To Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation/Fox- 4,253 theaters) targeting $18.5M Friday but -9% on Saturday. With a 3x multiple (on the high end for summer) that’s a tepid $50M. The cost was a whopping $145M to make. After an uneven string of misses and miserable grosses recently culminating in the bomb that was Mr Peabody And Sherman, this sequel should have been Jeffrey Katzenberg’s biggest toon opening since 2012′s Madagascar 3. (The first Dragon opened to $43.7M and was considered one of DWA’s quality films.) But DreamWorks Animation is still nowhere near its Shrek highs. Audiences gave the sequel an A Cinemascore which will help word-of-mouth. Produced by Bonnie Arnold and written/directed by Dean DeBlois, based upon the “How To Train Your Dragon” book series by Cressida Cowell, the toon casts Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, and Djimon Hounsou among others, This second chapter of the trilogy returns to the fantasty world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless against the power-hungry Drago. Parents beware, however: there’s a death scene in the film that’s been compared to the punch-in-the-gut of Bambi’s. Lacking serious animated competition, this title (which has a high 92% on Rotten Tomatoes) could play for awhile.
Internationally, DWA/Fox began its box office quest on 4,438 screens in 25 markets including Russia this weekend, earning $24.8M and taking the #1 market share position in every opening market. The International cume-to-date is $26.5M. All of Latin America releases next weekend along with Australia, most of Eastern Europe and South Africa. Western Europe starts to roll-out the weekend the first weekend in July. Middle Eastern markets opened last weekend.
For overall moviegoing, this weekend is pushing $190M with 57% of the grosses in the Top 2. That’s about even with last year’s big FSS:
3. Maleficent (Disney – 3,623 Runs) Week 3 PG
Friday $6.1M, Saturday $7.4M, Weekend $19.6M (-43%), Cume $164.1M
4. The Fault In Our Stars (Fox – 3,273 Runs) Week 2 PG13
Friday $6.5M, Saturday $5.5M, Weekend $16M (-67%), Cume $82.0M
5. Edge Of Tomorrow (Warner Bros – 3,505 Runs) Week 2 PG13
Friday $4.7M, Saturday $5.9M, Weekend $15.0M (-48%), Cume $55.5M