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Sunday, February 17, 2008

'Jumper' takes off with $27.2m, leap frogging 'Step Up 2' and 'Spiderwick', Feb. 15-17, 2008

Despite suffering from one of the worst beatings from critics this year (eFilmCritic.com's Eric Childress called it "the action film equivalent of Phil Collins' Take Me Home video"), Fox's sci-fi actioner Jumper dominated the three-day portion of President's Day weekend, debuting with an estimated $27.2 million. Since its debut on Thursday, the $85 million budgeted film has grossed $33.9 million. Averaging $7,942 in 3,428 theaters this weekend, the Hayden Christensen-Samuel L. Jackson starrer benefitted from a heavy marketing blitz from Fox, which has shown a remarkable ability to turn very poorly received movies into box office gold (most recently Alvin and the Chipmunks and Meet the Spartans). Despite the impressive opening, expect heavy declines for the film in the coming weeks.

Barely edging out The Spiderwick Chronicles for second place was Buena Vista's dance-themed sequel Step Up 2 the Streets, which pulled in $19.7 million in its opening weekend, despite its decidedly unclever title. Even more impressive was the fact that it opened in nearly 1,400 fewer theaters than the film it beat out by $600,000, The Spiderwick Chronicles (according to estimates). Averaging a top ten best $7,962, the sequel opened very close to its 2006 predecessor Step Up, which debuted with $20.7 million on its way to $65.3 million domestically. It finished below last January's Stomp the Yard with $21.8 million ($61.3m total). Since its debut on Valentine's Day, Step Up 2 has earned $26.3 million.

Paramount-Nickelodeon's big budget children's fantasy pic The Spiderwick Chronicles finished just behind Step Up 2 in third with an estimated $19.1 million, averaging $4,960 in a very wide 3,847 theaters. Carrying a hefty $90 million budget, the effects-heavy film based on the popular children's books has grossed $21.5 million since its Thursday debut, and should add another $3-4 million on President's Day (Monday). Critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com gave the film a very encouraging 79% recommendation rating, but the lack of a strong marketing campaign seemed to doom the film from the start. The debut was similar to another smaller profile children's book adapatation Bridge to Terabithia. That well-received film opened with $22.6 million on its way to a strong $82.3 million domestically.

Last week's champ Fool's Gold fell just 39% to an estimated $13.1 million, bringing its ten-day take to a solid $42 million. At its current pace, look for the Mathew McConaughey-Kate Hudson romantic comedy to finish with $75 million.

Ryan Reynolds' Definitely, Maybe stirred up $9.7 million in fifth, drawing mostly upon the adult female demographic. Debuting in just 2,204 theaters, the $24 million budgeted film averaged $4,394 for Universal. Despite enjoying mostly solid reviews, the film finished right around the average for a Reynolds vehicle. His romantic comedy Just Friends opened to $9.1 million in 2005, while his comedy Waiting debuted with $6 million. Look for Definitely, Maybe to finish with $25-30 million domestically.

Despite four major new releases, the top ten films grossed just $112.8 million over the three-day President's Day weekend, down a significant 18% from last year's comparable frame when Ghost Rider debuted at No. 1 with a record $45.4 million.

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