High-school action comedy launches in the US in pole position while The Hunger Games limbers up in the wings
A solid launch for MGM's action comedy 21 Jump Street, released through the revived studio's first-look deal with Sony, saw it rank number one on an estimated $35m (£22m). The movie premiered at SXSW recently and was well received. Distribution heads will be pleased with the result: it sets up rising stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill for a nice run heading into competition against The Hunger Games next weekend when it will remain the only action comedy in the top 10.
Disney's John Carter continued its miserable trajectory in the second weekend and has barely crossed $53m. The international arena once again spared the blushes of top brass and generated a further $41m for a $126m running total and a $179m worldwide tally. These figures from outside North America are more important than ever because that's what the number crunchers will scrutinise when they assess whether or not the movie is breaking even. At a reported production cost of around $300m – not to mention another hefty chunk from marketing outlay – John Carter has a way to go on that front.
Will Ferrell's Gary Sanchez Productions is the proud father behind Casa de Mi Padre, a spoof telenovela in Spanish and English, which launched well in ninth place through Lionsgate on $2.2m from 382 theatres. This was a good debut based on what must have been low production costs and a limited marketing spend. The future could be profitable, driven by Ferrell fans and that burgeoning Latino audience that every studio wants so desperately to capture.
The arrival next weekend of The Hunger Games brings a big test for the independent space. This volatile arena bristles with opportunity and danger and needs all the success stories it can get to encourage banks, private investors, producers, sales agents and distributors to keep on making movies outside the major studio system. Lionsgate is a studio, too, but not on the same scale as Disney or Warner Bros. Its investment in the trilogy a couple of years ago set the independent community abuzz. If The Hunger Games does well all of the movie's international distributors will prosper, as everybody did on the Twilight franchise.
The reviews seem to be encouraging, if not spectacular, so the hope now is that press stories of advance ticket sales translate into real success. Suzanne Collins's source material offers plenty of scope for adventure and intrigue, and casting Jennifer Lawrence in the lead as Katniss Everdeen may have been a masterstroke. Now the movie has to deliver, week-in, week-out for several sessions both in the US and internationally. No pressure.North American top 10, 16-18 March 2012
1 21 Jump Street, $35m
2 Dr Seuss' The Lorax, $22.8m. Total: $158.4m
3 John Carter, $13.5m. Total: $53.2m
4 Project X, $4m. Total: $48.1m
5 A Thousand Words, $3.8m. Total: $12.1m
6 Act of Valor, $3.7m. Total: $62.4m
7 Safe House, $2.8m. Total: $120.2m
8 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, $2.5m. Total: $95.1m
9 Casa de Mi Padre, $2.2m
10 This Means War, $2.1m. Total: $50.5mComedyAction and adventureScience fiction and fantasyFilm industryJeremy Kayguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds