Two highly anticipated sequels are hitting the box office this weekend, but instead of squaring off, they could both walk away winners.
“22 Jump Street,” the R-rated sequel to Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s unexpectedly beloved ‘80s retread, and “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” Dreamworks’ second installment in the family-friendly adventure series, are aiming for two completely different audiences, giving both the chance to pick up between $50 million and $60 million their debut weekend, according to estimates from the Hollywood Reporter.
Both films will likely succeed as counterprogramming to the number of blockbuster action films like “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” that are either already in theaters or on their way later in the month. Both are enjoying strong buzz from critics as well. “22 Jump Street” holds an 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is holding tight at an impressive 95 percent. That could be excellent news for DreamWorks, which struggled earlier in the year with the middling “Rocky and Bullwinkle” update “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”
DreamWorks may not have had much luck with TV reboots this year, but it looks like Columbia can expect to succeed. Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s sequel opened ahead of the World Cup in the UK last weekend to $8.8 million, more than three times what “21 Jump Street” earned in the nation. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” hasn’t yet opened overseas but is set to launch simultaneously across 20 markets this weekend, including Russia and India.
“22 Jump Street” and “How to Train Your Dragon” may also benefit from the slow burn word-of-mouth that made their predecessors successful enough for sequels in the first place. Rather that earning a huge chunk of its box office take-home during its debut weekend like a number of other front-loaded blockbusters, 2010’s “How to Train Your Dragon” turned a $43.7 million opening weekend into a $217.6 million gross. Similarly, “21 Jump Street” opened to a decent $36.2 million, but quadrupled that into a much stronger $138.4 million domestic haul.
If “Jump Street” and “Dragon” break the laws of diminishing returns again, both could have a big leg up over this year’s blockbusters that are struggling to hold onto the box office for more than a week at a time. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opened on Friday, April 4 with $95 million, but hasn’t managed to triple that figure after nine weeks at the box office with $255.8 million.
Meanwhile, as “22 Jump Street” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” both eye the top spot this weekend, last weekend’s winner “The Fault in Our Stars” is set to earn another $20 million on top of its $48.2 million opening weekend, Variety reports. Not bad for a $12 million film. “Maleficent” is also set to earn an estimated $18 million, while Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow” could pick up a much-needed extra $15 million after last week’s debut.