‘21 Jump Street’ leaps to No. 1 with $35M debut

Posted March 18, 2012, at 6:43 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — Audiences headed back to school for the TV update “21 Jump Street,” which opened as the No. 1 weekend movie with $35 million.

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 flick the previous two weekends.

Studio estimates Sunday put Universal’s “The Lorax” in second place with $22.8 million, raising its domestic total to $158.4 million.

At No. 3, Disney’s costly sci-fi dud “John Carter” dropped sharply in its second weekend. The Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation took in $13.5 million, down 55 percent from its anemic opening weekend and lifting its domestic total to a measly $53.2 million. “John Carter” reportedly cost $250 million to make.

While tanking in the United States, “John Carter” has done decent business overseas. It took in $40.7 million this weekend to push its international haul to $126.1 million and its worldwide total to $179.3 million.

In narrow release, Will Ferrell’s Spanish-language B-movie spoof “Casa de mi Padre” opened solidly at No. 9 with $2.2 million. The Lionsgate release played in just 382 theaters, compared to 3,121 for “21 Jump Street.”

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.

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