– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The plan to reinvent the television “21 Jump Street” into a movie actually worked for Columbia Pictures as audiences flocked to the theaters.

The film opened on top with $35 million domestically and an additional $7 in the foreign markets.

According to Box Office Mojo, the marketing was ideal to establish the movie as a comedy with the likeable actors of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as two cops going undercover at a high school. And the film received an 87 percent fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Lionsgate Films’ “Casa De Mi Padre” opened in ninth place with $2.2 million. It was an impressive debut due to the fact it opened only in 382 theaters, a fraction of theaters compared with major films on the market. It averaged $5,759 per theater.

The film starred Will Ferrell, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna as mock-comedy of Spanish soap operas.

And Paramount Vantage’s “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” earned $840,000 for its opening weekend in 254 theaters. The film starred Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon in a movie about a slacker spends the day with his brother as he tracks down his possibly adulterous wife.

For the rest of the top five, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” fell to second place with $22.8 million, a decrease of 41.3 percent from the previous weekend. The total gross is now over $158 million domestically in three weeks.

“John Carter” dropped one place to third place with $13.5 million, a decrease of 55.2 percent from the previous weekend. The good news is that “John Carter” move is showing good numbers overseas with a total of $126 million. The total worldwide gross is $179 million to this date. But, it still may be just short of breaking even for this $250 million budgeted movie.

It looks like the party is practically over for “Project X.” The film grossed $4 million to be in fourth place, but with a steep drop of $64.1 million from the previous weekend.

And in fifth place, “A Thousand Words” earned $3.75 million, a decrease of $39.3 million from the previous weekend.

For next weekend, theater goers are expected to be back in theaters for the anticipated movie “The Hunger Games.”

Here is the WEEKEND BOX OFFICE REPORT for March 16-18, 2012:

1. 21 Jump Street $35 million
2. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax $22.8 million
3. John Carter $13.5 million
4. Project X $4 million
5. A Thousand Words $3.75 million
6. Act of Valor $3.68 million
7. Safe House $2.8 million
8. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island $2.46 million
9. Casa De Mi Padre $2.2 million
10. This Means War $2.125 million

Source: BoxOffice.com, Box Office Mojo