21 Jump Street set records at the box office, debuting at #1 and bringing in a solid $35 million.
According to MTV, the action comedy had the highest debut ever for a comedy set in high school, trumping 2007’s Superbad ($33.05 million), which Jump Street co-star Jonah Hill also played in.
The 80’s television adaptation proved to be one of the strongest, knocking out contenders like The Dukes of Hazzard ($30.7 million) and The A-Team ($25.7 million).
But how did they do it? While film viewers attributed its success to great press and actor relevance, The New York Times‘ A.O. Scott ascribed the numbers to its plot.
"Completely abandoning earnest teenagers-in-crisis melodrama in favor of crude, aggressive comedy, this 21 Jump Street is an example of how formula-driven entertainment can succeed," he wrote.
But perhaps it was the appeal of Channing Tatum’s role that played as one of the largest factors, although Tatum says he was actually nervous about it.
“You never know what’s gonna be funny,” he told MTV. “You gotta sorta just go and fall on your face to see if anything can fly. Something that’s funny on the day won’t be funny in front of people.”
Hill, however, knew he was the man for the part.
“We needed someone from the action world who had credibility,” he said. “I wanted the film to feel like ‘Bad Boys’ meets a John Hughes movie.”
We say good call, Jonah. “21 Jump Street” in theaters now. – Stephanie Long