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Box Office: '21 Jump Street' is No. 1 with $35 million [Updated]

March 18, 2012 |  9:55 am

21 Jump Street was the No 1 film at the box office this weekend

"21 Jump Street" handcuffed its competition at the multiplex this weekend, easily locking up the No. 1 spot at the box office.

The film, starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as two cops who go back to high school on an undercover mission, collected a healthy $35 million, according to distributor Sony Pictures.

"21 Jump Street" was the only film to hit theaters nationwide this weekend, though two new comedies debuted in about 60 of the country's top markets. "Casa de Mi Padre," a Spanish-language spaghetti-western spoof featuring Will Ferrell, raked in a solid $2.2 million. Playing in 100 fewer theaters, "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," starring Jason Segel as an idealistic thirtysomething still living in his mother's basement, grossed a so-so $840,000.

PHOTOS: Box office top ten

"21 Jump Street" appealed to both genders in nearly equal measure, and all ages went to see it as well: Half of the crowd was under the age of 25, and half was over. However, it played far better with the younger audience, who assigned it an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore. Those age 50 and over gave the movie a C-, so the movie ended up with a B overall.

Co-financed by Sony and MGM for about $42 million, "21 Jump Street" has earned strong critical reviews and was well-receieved upon its premiere at the South by SouthWest festival in Austin, Texas earlier this week.

Loosely based on the '80s television series starring a young Johnny Depp, the film marked a return to comedy for Hill, who this year earned an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in the baseball drama "Moneyball." It's also the second box office success of the year for Tatum, the heartthrob who propelled the romantic tear-jerker "The Vow" to over $100 million worth of ticket sales in February.

Meanwhile, Ferrell developed "Casa de Mi Padre" through his Gary Sanchez Productions. In the low-budget flick, financed by Nala Films for $6 million, the actor plays a Mexican rancher's son who becomes involved in a drug war. The film debuted in 382 locations this weekend, for a per-theater average of $5,759.

The movie is being released by Pantelion Films, Lionsgate's co-venture with Mexican media company Televisa. Since its inception in 2010, Pantelion has struggled to find success at the box office. "Casa de Mi Padre" will likely prove to be its biggest suggest, which to date is last year's $3-million grossing "From Prada to Nada."

"Jeff, Who Lives at Home," co-starring Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon, played in 254 theaters this weekend and ended up with a per-location total of $3,300. The low-budget movie was co-funded by Paramount's specialty label Vantage and independent production-financing company Indian Paintbrush. 

The film has the potential to become the biggest hit yet for filmmaking brother team Mark and Jay Duplass. After beginning their career with a series of "mumblecore" films -- ultra-inexpensive, documentary-style movies centered around naturalistic dialogue -- the brothers made their first studio project in 2010 with Fox Searchlight. That film, "Cyrus," starring Hill and John C. Reilly, only grossed $7.5 million at the box office by the end of its run.

[Updated, 12:38 p.m. March 18: It was another bad weekend for "John Carter." After debuting with a lackluster $30.2 million last weekend, the $250-million-plus fantasy epic saw its ticket sales fall 55% to $13.5 million. In total, the film has now grossed $53.2 million since its domestic release 10 days ago. At this rate, it seems that word-of-mouth will not be strong enough to turn the film into a domestic success, given its gargantuan budget.

Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic office, with international results when available, according to studio estimates:

1. "21 Jump Street" (Sony/MGM): Opened to $35 million. $7 million overseas in 11 foreign markets.

2. "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" (Universal): $22.8 million on its third weekend, down 41%. Domestic total: $158.4 million. $11.6 million overseas in 16 foreign markets. International total: $14.1 million.

3. "John Carter" (Disney): $13.5 million on its second weekend, down 55%. Domestic total: $53.2 million. $40.7 million overseas in 54 foreign markets. International total: $126.1 million.

4. "Project X" (Warner Bros.): $4 million on its third weekend, down 64%. Domestic total: $48.1 million. $5.6 million overseas in 26 foreign markets. International total: $14 million.

5. "A Thousand Words" (Paramount/DreamWorks): $3.8 million on its second weekend, down 39%. Domestic total: $12.1 million.

6. "Act of Valor" (Relativity/Bandito Bros.): $3.7 million on its fourth weekend, down 47%. Domestic total: $62.7 million.

7. "Safe House" (Universal/Relativity): $2.8 million on its sixth weekend, down 43%. Domestic total: $120.2 million. $3.5 million overseas in 54 foreign markets. International total: $67 million. 

8. "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" (Warner Bros.): $2.5 million on its sixth weekend, down 32%. Domestic total: $95.1 million. $5 million overseas in 50 foreign markets. International total: $207 million.

9. "Casa de Mi Padre" (Pantelion/Lionsgate): Opened to $2.2 million.

10. "This Means War" (Fox/Dune): $2.1 million on its fifth weekend, down 43%. Domestic total: $50.5 million. $9.1 million overseas in 58 foreign markets. International total: $69.4 million.]


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Photo: Jonah Hill, left, and Channing Tatum star in "21 Jump Street." Credit: Sony Pictures