21 Jump Street (film)

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21 Jump Street
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay byMichael Bacall
Story by
Based on21 Jump Street
by Patrick Hasburgh
Stephen J. Cannell
Produced by
CinematographyBarry Peterson
Edited byJoel Negron
Music byMark Mothersbaugh
Distributed by
Release dates
  • March 12, 2012 (2012-03-12) (SXSW)
  • March 16, 2012 (2012-03-16) (United States)
Running time
109 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
Budget$42–54.7 million[4][5]
Box office$201.6 million[4]

21 Jump Street is a 2012 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in their live action directional debuts and written by Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall. The film stars Hill and Channing Tatum in the lead roles.[6] It is an adaptation of the 1987–1991 television series of the same name by Stephen J. Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh. In the film, Schmidt and Jenko are police officers who are forced to relive high school when they are assigned on an undercover mission to pose as high school students in order to prevent the outbreak of a new synthetic drug and arrest its supplier.

21 Jump Street premiered in SXSW festival on March 12, 2012 and was theatrically released in the United States on March 16, by Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). It received positive reviews from critics and grossed $201 million worldwide. A sequel, titled 22 Jump Street, was released on June 13, 2014, and in 2015 a female-led spin-off was in development with main stars cast in 2018 and the first draft completed in 2020.


In 2005, unpopular-yet-scholarly student Morton Schmidt and popular-yet-underachieving athlete Greg Jenko miss their school prom, Schmidt being rejected by the girl he was trying to ask to be his date and Jenko being barred from attending due to failing 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, the leader of a one-percenter motorcycle gang, but are forced to release him after they fail 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 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, and he and Jenko meet the school's main dealer, popular student Eric. The two take HFS in front of him to maintain their cover.

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 from another high school. Schmidt wins the fight, impressing Eric and gaining his trust. Jenko's friends hack Eric's phone to enable them to listen in on his conversations.

The phone hack reveals information about an upcoming meeting between Eric and his supplier. Jenko happens to overhear conversations between Schmidt and Eric, where he catches Schmidt making disparaging comments about him. A rift between the duo grows and their official police work suffers. Schmidt and Jenko later track Eric to a cash transaction 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 fired 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, Schmidt is forced to reveal his identity as a cop, upsetting Molly. When they go to the penthouse, they discover that the supplier is the physical education teacher, Mr. Walters, who created the drug accidentally and started selling it to the students to supplement his teacher's salary and pay alimony to his ex-wife. Having caught Eric smoking marijuana, he was able to persuade him to be his dealer.

The motorcycle gang arrives for the deal, but Molly, high on the HFS, interrupts them and starts arguing with Schmidt. As a result, gang leader Domingo recognizes Schmidt and Jenko and orders his men to kill them. Two of the gang members then reveal themselves to be undercover DEA agents Tom Hanson and Doug Penhall, former members of the 21 Jump Street program. Domingo orders his men to shoot Hanson and Penhall; in the ensuing exchange of gunfire, Hanson and Penhall are both mortally 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. They arrest Mr. Walters and Eric, successfully reading the former his Miranda rights. Schmidt and Molly share a kiss while Eric and Mr. Walters get arrested.

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



In May 2008, Sony 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.[8] Hill has said he wanted horror director Rob Zombie to direct the picture. In May 2009, Hill described the film adaptation as being an "R-rated, insane, Bad Boys-meets-John Hughes-type movie".[9] On December 21, 2009, it was announced that Sony was in talks with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directing duo, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, to direct the film.[10] 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."[11] However, the film features a highly comedic tone, departing radically from the more dramatic and earnest tone of the series.[12]


The film was shot in and around New Orleans in 2011, although the filmmakers took elaborate steps to disguise the location as a generic city named "Metropolitan 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.[13] The main school used as the stand-in for the fictional Sagan High School was Riverdale High School, located in Jefferson, Louisiana.[14] The naked baby pictures of Hill's character used in the film were actual pictures of Hill as a child.[15] The band scene was filmed at Belle Chasse High School in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.[16] Filming was completed in July 2011.[17]


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 film's sequel, 22 Jump Street, composed by Mothersbaugh as well.[18] 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.[19]

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, Texas, during SXSW.[20] The film opened in a wide release in theaters on March 16, 2012. 21 Jump Street grossed $138.4 million in the United States and Canada and $63.1 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $201.6 million; it is also the top-grossing high school comedy film of all time.[4] The film grossed $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]

21 Jump Street was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Canada and the United States on June 26, 2012[22][23] and was released in the United Kingdom on July 9, 2012.[24] 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 Depp 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.


On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, the film has an approval rating of 85% based on 227 reviews and an average rating of 7.20/10. 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."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 69 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

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."[28] David Hynes of WhatCulture ranked the script third in a list of the "10 Best Movie Screenplays Since 2010", writing, "A key aspect to the script's success is how it sets up its story with such economy of means. We begin in medias res, and within ten pages establish (in a single shot) [...] all the conflict, interpersonal and personal [...] I groaned when I heard Tatum and Hill had been cast as the lead, but they proved to be a great double-act who did justice to the script's nutty humour."[29]


The film was listed as the number 6 most illegally downloaded film of 2012 using the BitTorrent protocol with approximately 7.6 million downloads.[30]

Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2012 BMI Film & TV Awards Film Music Award Mark Mothersbaugh Won [31]
Golden Trailer Awards Best Pre-show Theatrical Advertising Won [32]
Best Comedy TV Spot Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance Jonah Hill Nominated [33]
Best Hero Channing Tatum
Best Cast Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Ellie Kemper, Brie Larson, and Rob Riggle
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 StreetJeanne McCarthy, Nicole Abellera, Elizabeth Coulon, (Location Casting), Yesi Ramirez (Associate) Nominated [35]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedy Movie 21 Jump Street Nominated [36]
2013 Critics' Choice Awards Best Comedy 21 Jump Street Nominated [37]
Best Actor in a Comedy Channing Tatum Nominated

Sequels and spin-offs[edit]

22 Jump Street[edit]

In March 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.[38] Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returned to direct this sequel. The film was originally scheduled to be released on June 6, 2014.[39] In May 2013, it was announced that the film would be pushed back a week until June 13, 2014.[40] The film's title was 22 Jump Street.[41] Like the first film, 22 Jump Street received positive reviews.

23 Jump Street[edit]

In September 2013, 23 Jump Street was announced to be in development.[42] Commenting on the project, Tatum stated, "I don't know if that joke works three times, so we'll see."[43]

MIB 23[edit]

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[44] and then confirmed by the directors of the films, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, during an interview about it.[45][46] In March 2016, James Bobin signed on as director.[47][48] In 2019, it was confirmed by producer Walter Parkes that MIB 23 had been cancelled. [49]

Jump Street: Now for Her Pleasure[edit]

In April 2015, a female-centered Jump Street film was announced to be in development.[50] In December 2016, Rodney Rothman was signed on as writer/director.[51] In December 2018, Tiffany Haddish was cast as the main star, while Zendaya and Awkwafina were also in negotiations for roles.[52] By November 2020, it was revealed that Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin had completed a draft of the script, while the official title was announced to be Jump Street: Now for Her Pleasure.[53]

Molly Tracey spin-off film[edit]

In July 2023, a spin-off Jump Street film featuring Molly Tracey was announced to be in development.[54]


  1. ^ Cannell died in September 2010; he will receive a posthumous credit in the film.


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External links[edit]