This weekend at the North American box office is shaping up to be a big one as two sequels, the Dreamworks Animation flick How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Sony’s 22 Jump Street, are poised to top $50 million a piece through their first three days of release.
Thursday night late showings were especially kind to 22 Jump Street starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The R-rated comedy earned an impressive $5.5 million as its target demographic consisting primarily of college students and males age 17-34 jumped at the opportunity to partake in some late night laughs.
Because 22 Jump Street started blazing hot doesn’t mean it is headed toward a $75 million opening weekend. Matinee numbers will likely be supressed as R-rated comedies perform better in the evenings. Also, IMAX screens are being shared with How to Train Your Dragon 2 so Jump Street will only benefit from those ticket surcharges at night.
At just over 3,300 locations, 22 Jump Street is well on its way to at least a $50 million weekend and could top $60 million if matinee showings buck the trend and fill up. Either way, the sequel is setting up to be one of the best opening R-rated comedies ever.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 earned $2 million from its late Thursday showings despite being a film targeted at kids and families. Critical response has been overwhelmingly positive so expect business to snowball through the weekend and sellouts to occur.
With over 4,250 locations carrying the film, the widest release of any film this year, Dragon 2 should top $60 million and possibly make a run for $70 million or beyond. The original film earned $43.7 million back in 2011 as a new IP, but also opened in March when some — but not all — kids were on spring break. With kids out for the summer and Dragon awareness more pronounced, topping the original is a foregone conclusion.
Come back Saturday morning when we update the Friday box office numbers that will offer a clearer indication of where 22 Jump Street and How Train Your Dragon 2 will end up through Sunday.