21 Jump Street (film)

21 Jump Street

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by Michael Bacall
Story by
Based on 21 Jump Street
by Patrick Hasburgh
Stephen J. Cannell
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Cinematography Barry Peterson
Edited by Joel Negron
Distributed by
Release dates
  • March 12, 2012 (2012-03-12) (Austin)
  • March 16, 2012 (2012-03-16) (United States)
Running time
109 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million[2]
Box office $201.5 million[3]

21 Jump Street is a 2012 American action comedy film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and scripted by Michael Bacall from a story by him and Hill.[4]

An adaptation of the 1987 television series of the same name by Stephen J. Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh, set within the same continuity as the TV series; the film follows two police officers who are forced to relive high school when they are assigned to go undercover as high school students to prevent the outbreak of a new synthetic drug and arrest its supplier.

It was released theatrically on March 16, 2012, by Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and was both a critical and commercial success. A sequel, titled 22 Jump Street, was released on June 13, 2014. Two further films, MIB 23 (a crossover with the Men in Black franchise) and a female-led spin-off, are currently in development.


In 2005, scholarly student Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and popular underachieving jock Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) miss their school prom; Schmidt being rejected by the girl he asked to be his date and Jenko being barred from attending because of his grades. Seven years later, the duo meets again at the Police Academy and become friends and partners on bicycle patrol. They catch a break when they arrest Domingo (DeRay Davis), the leader of a one-percenter motorcycle gang, but are forced to release him after they failed to read him his Miranda rights.

The duo is reassigned to a revived scheme from the 1980s, which specializes in infiltrating high schools. Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) assigns them to contain the spread of a synthetic drug called HFS (Holy Fucking Shit) at Sagan High School. He gives them new identities and enrolls them as students, giving them class schedules fitting their previous academic performances; Jenko taking mostly arts and humanities, and Schmidt taking mostly science classes, but the duo mixes up their identities. Schmidt gets a lead on HFS from classmate Molly (Brie Larson), and he and Jenko meet the school's main dealer, popular student Eric (Dave Franco). The two take HFS in front of him to maintain their cover. After experiencing the drug's effects, the duo discovers that Schmidt's intelligence now makes him popular, while Jenko's lax attitude is frowned upon.

Eric takes a liking to Schmidt, who develops a romantic interest in Molly. Jenko becomes friends with the students in his AP Chemistry class and finds himself becoming more interested in geeky hobbies and academic pursuits. Schmidt and Jenko throw a party at Schmidt's parents' house, where they are living during the course of their assignment, and invite Eric. During the party, a fight breaks out between Schmidt, Jenko, and some party crashers. Schmidt wins the fight, solidifying his social status and gaining Eric's trust. Jenko's friends hack Eric's phone to enable them to listen in on his conversations.

At a party at Eric's house, using the phone hack, Jenko and his friends overhear information about an upcoming meeting between Eric and his supplier, but also catch Schmidt making disparaging comments about Jenko. The rift between the duo grows as their new school life invades upon their official police work. Schmidt and Jenko track Eric to a money exchange with the distributors of HFS – the motorcycle gang from the park – and a chase ensues on the freeway. They return to school, argue, and eventually begin fighting, which disrupts the school play. They are expelled from school and are removed from the Jump Street program.

Eric, stressed and terrified, recruits Schmidt and Jenko as security for a deal taking place at the school prom. While dressing for the prom, Schmidt and Jenko rekindle their friendship. At the prom, they discover that the supplier is the physical education teacher, Mr. Walters (Rob Riggle), who created the drug accidentally and started selling it to the students to supplement his teacher's salary. Having caught Eric smoking marijuana, he was able to persuade him into being his dealer.

The motorcycle gang arrives for the deal but Molly interrupts them and starts arguing with Schmidt. As a result, the gang leader recognizes Schmidt and Jenko, and orders his men to kill them. Two of the gang members reveal themselves as undercover DEA agents Tom Hanson and Doug Penhall (Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise). In the ensuing gunfight, Hanson and Penhall are fatally wounded. Mr. Walters and Eric escape with the money and Molly as a hostage; the gang, Schmidt, and Jenko follow close behind. Jenko creates a homemade bomb and uses it to kill the gang. Mr. Walters shoots at Schmidt but Jenko takes the bullet to his arm, sparing Schmidt's life. In response, Schmidt shoots Mr. Walters, unintentionally severing his penis. As they arrest Mr. Walters and Eric, Schmidt and Jenko reconcile their relationship.

Both officers are congratulated and reinstated in Jump Street as Dickson gives them a new assignment: infiltrating a college.



In May 2008, Columbia Pictures confirmed that a film adaptation of the series was under development. Jonah Hill rewrote an existing script by screenwriter Joe Gazzam and executive produced the film, as well as starred in the film.[6] Hill has said he wanted horror director Rob Zombie to direct the picture. In May 2009, Hill described the film adaptation as being a "R-rated, insane, Bad Boys-meets-John Hughes-type movie".[7] On December 21, 2009, it was announced that Columbia Pictures were in talks with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directing duo, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, to direct the film.[8] The film follows the same continuity as the TV series; Lord said, "So, all of those events of the original happened. And now here we are 20 years later, and we’re watching it happen to different people."[9] However, the film features a highly comedic tone, departing radically from the more dramatic and earnest tone of the series.[10]


The film was shot in and around the city of Metairie, Louisiana (suburb of New Orleans), although the filmmakers took elaborate steps to disguise the location as a generic city. They replaced distinctive street signs with signs using a Helvetica typeface, digitally removed billboards from local businesses (except the recognizable local RTA signs toward the end of the film as well as a Zatarain's billboard ad), and avoided filming locations with iconic New Orleans imagery. Despite this, signature landmarks such as the Crescent City Connection and distinctive French Quarter–area street are still partially visible.[11] The main school used as the stand-in for the fictional Sagan High School was Riverdale High School, located in Jefferson, Louisiana.[12] The naked baby pictures of Hill's character used in the film were actual pictures of Hill as a child.[13]


The score for the film was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh. In September 2014, it was released by La-La Land Records on a double disc album, limited to 2,000 copies. The second disc of the album also contains the score from the films sequel, 22 Jump Street, composed by Mothersbaugh as well.[14] A modernized cover of the original television's theme song by Rye Rye (who had a small part in the film) and Esthero was released as a single in the iTunes Store.[15]

In addition, a total of 21 songs were licensed for use in the film. The songs featured in the film include:


Hill and Tatum promoting the film in costume at WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim, California

The premiere of 21 Jump Street took place on March 12, 2012, at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, TX, during SXSW.[16] The film opened in a wide release in theaters on March 16, 2012.

Critical reception

21 Jump Street received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 85% based on 210 reviews with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A smart, affectionate satire of '80s nostalgia and teen movie tropes, 21 Jump Street offers rowdy mainstream comedy with a surprisingly satisfying bite."[17] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 69 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[19]

Richard Roeper of The Chicago-Sun Times gave the film a grade of a B+ saying, “I didn't think we needed a 21 Jump Street, but it's actually kind of funny".[20]

Box office

The film topped the North American box office with $13.2 million on its opening day. During the weekend, the film grossed $35 million, taking The Lorax out of the #1 spot that it held for its first two weeks.[21]

The film grossed $138,447,667 in North America, and $63,137,661 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $201,585,328; it is also the No. 1 top-grossing movie under the High School Comedy genre.[3]


The film was listed as the number 6 most illegally downloaded film of 2012 using the BitTorrent protocol with approximately 7.6 million downloads.[22]

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Result Ref.
2012 BMI Film & TV Awards Film Music Award Mark Mothersbaugh Won [23]
Golden Trailer Awards Best Pre-show Theatrical Advertising Won [24]
Best Comedy TV Spot Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance Jonah Hill Nominated [25]
Best Cast 21 Jump Street
Best On-Screen Transformation Johnny Depp
Best Fight Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill vs. Kid Gang
Best Gut-Wrenching Performance Jonah Hill and Rob Riggle
Best Music Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Comedy 21 Jump Street Won


Choice Movie: Actor Comedy Channing Tatum Won
Choice Movie: Actor Comedy Jonah Hill Nominated
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Big Budget Comedy Feature 21 Jump Street - Jeanne McCarthy, Nicole Abellera, Elizabeth Coulon, (Location Casting), Yesi Ramirez (Associate) Nominated [27]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedy Movie 21 Jump Street Nominated [28]
2013 Critic's Choice Award Best Comedy 21 Jump Street Nominated [29]
Best Actor in a Comedy Channing Tatum Nominated

Home media

21 Jump Street was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Canada and the United States on June 28, 2012[30][31] and was released in the United Kingdom on July 9, 2012.[32] Some of the Blu-ray bonus features include 20 deleted scenes and "Johnny Depp on Set" explaining how they brought Johnny Depp to reprise his role as Tom Hanson. It was revealed that Johnny wanted his character to die, but for unknown reasons. In one of the deleted scenes, Tom and his partner, Doug Penhall, were shown to have survived the shootout.

Sequels and spin-offs

22 Jump Street

Main article: 22 Jump Street

On March 17, 2012, Sony Pictures announced that it was pursuing a sequel to the film, signing a deal that would see Hill and Bacall return to write a script treatment that would be again developed by Bacall. Hill and Tatum returned to star in the film. They were executive producers as well, alongside producer Neal H. Moritz.[33] Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returned to direct this sequel. The film was originally scheduled to be released on June 6, 2014.[34] On May 8, 2013, it was announced that the film would be pushed back a week until June 13, 2014.[35] The film's title was 22 Jump Street.[36] Like the first film, 22 Jump Street received positive reviews.

23 Jump Street

On September 10, 2014, 23 Jump Street was confirmed.[37] Channing Tatum has yet to sign on to the project. Tatum stated, "I don't know if that joke works three times, so we'll see."[38] On August 7, 2015, it was revealed that Lord and Miller will not direct the film, but instead write and produce. A first draft of the film's script has been completed.[39] In early 2015, a female-driven 21 Jump Street film was rumoured to be in the works alongside the movie.[40] However, with the announcement of the Men in Black crossover and no further updates, the status of the film is unclear.

MIB 23

On December 10, 2014, it was revealed that Sony was planning a crossover between Men in Black and Jump Street. The news was leaked after Sony's system was hacked[41] and then confirmed by the directors of the films, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, during an interview about it.[42][43] James Bobin was announced as the director in March 2016.[44][45]

Untitled female-led spin-off

A female-driven 21 Jump Street film is being developed.[46] In December of 2016, Rodney Rothman was announced as the director and screenwriter for the film. Rothman returns to the franchise after co-writing 22 Jump Street, and MIB 23 as well.[47]


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