“Dragon 2,” “22 Jump Street” Set for Battle of Sequels
Summer continues to heat up this weekend as two highly anticipated sequels collide. It’s rather fitting that both How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 22 Jump Street are set for release this weekend. Both first installments opened in a lucrative March market back in 2010 and 2012 respectively. And while the two appeal to two polarizing demographics, shifting the date to summer shows the studios have confidence in these franchises.
Besides Shrek and Madagascar, Dragons has been DreamWorks Animation core franchise. With the other two series’ either done or focusing on spin-offs, the Dragons brand has pulled through the last few years. Much of that success is thanks to the 2010 film, which was critically acclaimed with a near-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes. Additional success has come from the Dragons TV show and loads of merchandise.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up five years after the previous film. Hiccup has grown into a man and his bond with Toothless has never been stronger. The village of Berk, however, is put to the test once again when an outside conqueror raises an army of dragons.
Even with a massive shift in its timeline, Dragon 2 retains much of its original cast and crew. The first film’s co-director Dean DeBlois returns as do many of the voice actors. There are many new additions as well, including Cate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou and Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington.
Fortunately for Dragon 2, there are no other animated films in theaters at the moment. Rio 2 and Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return are long gone. Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue isn’t set to release for another month. That leaves Dragon 2 as the de-facto choice for families with younger audiences.
Engagements for How to Train Your Dragon 2 begin Thursday night at 8 p.m. in 2D and 3D. The film opens Friday in an estimated 4,100 theaters. The 2010 film opened to $43 million. The sequel will have no problems surpassing that number within two days. An opening near $70 million is certainly possible.
Hiccup and Toothless are expected to dominate the family scene. For older audiences, it’ll be 22 Jump Street’s Jenko and Schmidt. Back in 2012, Phil Lord and Chris Miller proved that their comedy went beyond family films. Their film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a breakout film in 2009 and 21 Jump Street followed suit.
Loosely inspired from the TV show of the same name, 21 Jump Street was a sure-fire hit, pulling in nearly $140 million domestically. Much of that credit goes to the spot-on chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
22 Jump Street aims to duplicate the success of the 2012 film, going for a Home Alone 2 or The Hangover: Part II route. The film is essentially the same plot as the first film, except on a larger scale. Instead of infiltrating a high school, Jenko and Schmidt head to college to break a drug ring.
22 Jump Street has received its fair share of positive reviews so far. We Live Film’s MovieManMenzel was disappointed with the film, believing the film to be “a one-trick pony.”
Engagements for 22 Jump Street starts at 7 p.m. Thursday night. The film is opening in 200 more theaters than its 2012 predecessor. That plus high anticipation will push the raunchy buddy comedy past the $50 million mark.
Box Office Projections
1. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation) – $69.3 million (NR)
2. 22 Jump Street (Sony Pictures) – $55.8 million (NR)
3. The Fault in Our Stars (20th Century Fox) – $22.4 million (1)
4. Maleficent (Buena Vista) – $15.4 million (2)
5. Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.) – $12.4 million (3)