NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum may make for an underwhelming pair of undercover cops but the duo has potential to be a breakthrough hit for Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony's (SNE) trimmed-down film studio. 22 Jump Street is projected to be a win for Sony Pictures, a much needed hit a studio that endured a after major restructuring over the winter.
CEO Kazou Hirai pledged in November to cut $250 million in costs from the Tokyo-based Sony's entertainment units over two years as he attempts to overhaul and boost profits at the company's movie, TV and music businesses. After hiring Bain & Co. last year to identify more than $100 million in entertainment unit reductions, Sony's Columbia Pictures announced it would only release 18 films annually, down from 23 in past years.
Of the 18 films planned by Columbia Pictures for 2014, much emphasis is being placed on action comedies such as 22 Jump Street. The film starring Hill and Tatum is expected to gross $45 to $50 million at it's opening weekend, which begins on Friday. The Columbia Pictures' and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures' film will be released in 3,300 locations in North America on June 13.
"It's gonna be big," Phil Contrino, chief analyst for BoxOffice.com, said in a phone interview.
According to Jean Guerin, Senior Vice President, Media Relations Sony Pictures Entertainment, the film tested higher than any other R-rated comedy in Sony Pictures' history.
"As we head into the weekend, anticipation for the sequel is extraordinary. Spurred by a coordinated effort in social and digital media, the fan base for the franchise has grown exponentially since the first film opened to $36.3 million in 2012 and set a record at the time for a non-summer, non-sequel R-rated comedy," writes Guerin in a note.