21 Jump Street tops box office
Audiences in the US have headed back to school for the TV update 21 Jump Street, which opened as the number one weekend movie taking 35 million dollars.
Sony's action comedy starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as cops going undercover as high school students took down the animated hit Dr Seuss' The Lorax, which had been the top film the previous two weekends.
Studio estimates put Universal's The Lorax in second-place with 22.8 million dollars, raising its US total to 158.4 million.
At number three, Disney's costly science-fiction dud John Carter dropped sharply in its second weekend. The Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation took in 13.5 million dollars, down 55 per cent from its anaemic opening weekend and lifting its US total to a measly 53.2 million. John Carter reportedly cost 250 million US dollars to make.
While tanking in the United States, John Carter has done decent business overseas. It took in 40.7 million dollars this weekend to push its international haul to 126.1 million and its worldwide total to 179.3 million.
Based on the 1980s TV show that made Johnny Depp a star, 21 Jump Street casts Hill and Tatum as rookie cops posing as teens to root out crooks peddling a psychedelic new drug at a Los Angeles school.
Rather than doing a straight update of the TV show, Sony turned 21 Jump Street on its head for the big-screen, retooling it as a comedy that helped pack in the under-25 crowd, which made up half of the audience.
"I just think you had to make it relevant, and action comedy was the way to go. And they did make it very relevant to a young audience," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. "The guys, Jonah and Channing, were just killer together. They had incredible chemistry and certainly were the attraction for younger crowds."