In this week’s edition of The Bottom Line, we’ll discuss Hollywood’s new wide releases: the safe and family-friendly How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) and the raunchy 22 Jump Street (2014). This is, indeed, the week of the “2”: the two of them are sequels, each with two directors, containing “2” in the title, featuring two main characters and, finally, both feature Jonah Hill. They are follow-ups to surprisingly successful predecessors (How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and 21 Jump Street (2012)), but, since they are clearly targeted to different audiences, any competition between them is meaningless. Both of them, in fact (and especially 22 Jump Street) will battle the ongoing reign of last week’s The Fault in Our Stars (2014) and the Disney juggernaut Maleficent (2014), which has earned an impressive $140 million since its release two weeks ago.
Many American high-schoolers graduated just last week, and 22 Jump Street (2014) ought to attract a great deal of them to the box office this weekend. The sequel features the return of the creative team that surprised everyone with a fresh, funny, and critically well-received 2012 re-imagining of the original TV series that starred Johnny Depp and helped close out the 80’s. Channing Tatum (Hollywood’s current “It” Man) and Jonah Hill (fresh off his second Oscar nomination for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)) return as young cops who operate undercover at a university to solve a case. It’s basically a retread of the first film with a setting change (last time they went undercover at a high school).
If you are in the mood to wind down, put your feet up, and laugh at something raunchy and ridiculous, this is your best bet this weekend. Its critical reception (so far) is even better than the first film, with many critics saying that it accomplishes that rare feat: a sequel that surpasses the original. There are, however, several inside jokes that only those who have seen the first film may understand, so you may want to watch/re-watch the 2012 original if you want to get the most laughs for your buck. This is a film made for the drive-in.
This bromance ought to perform well with the Millenial crowd, ESPN viewers (where ads for the film have been playing constantly), and Judd Apatow fans. It’s also possible that Channing Tatum‘s presence could draw a sizable female crowd as well (provided that they’ve already seen The Fault in Our Stars (2014), of course).
Dreamworks Pictures also returns this week with its long-anticipated follow-up to its smash hit, How to Train Your Dragon (2010). The first film grossed an impressive $217 million at the box office and was nominated for two Oscars, including Best Animated Feature Film (which it lost to Toy Story 3).
The film features the voices of Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, and Kit Harrington. The film is rated PG and will be featured in IMAX 3D.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) is likely to perform very well this weekend. Younger kids are out of school for the summer, and parents will look to stay inside away from the heat. Its family-friendliness will sell a lot more tickets than 22 Jump Street (2014), which will likely attract romantic and bromantic pairings. Otherwise uninterested moviegoers might also be persuaded by the film’s reviews, which currently sit at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Animated children’s films have dominated the box office the last decade, and this one should be no different.
The Bottom Line is this: whatever you choose to see this weekend, you can’t go wrong. Just have fun and take an appropriate partner/crowd.
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