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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The sci-fi thriller "Jumper" leaped to the No. 1 spot at the North American box office on Sunday as moviegoers ignored critics' dire warnings for a second weekend.
The movie, in which Hayden Christensen plays a man who is able to "teleport" around the world, earned an estimated $27.2 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period, distributor 20th Century Fox said.
It fended off three other rookies. The urban dance sequel "Step Up 2 the Streets" opened at No. 2 with $19.7 million for the three-day period, followed by the children's literary adaptation "The Spiderwick Chronicles" with $19.1 million. The romance "Definitely, Maybe" opened at No. 5 with $9.7 million, failing to rouse much Valentine's Day passion.
Last week's champ, "Fool's Gold," fell to No. 4 with $13.1 million. After 10 days, the romantic adventure starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, has earned $42 million. It was released by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.
In an unprecedented strategy, all four newcomers opened on Thursday -- a day earlier than usual -- in hopes of pulling in some Valentine's Day business from couples. Including Thursday sales, "Jumper" earned $33.9 million, "Step Up 2 the Streets" $26.3 million, "The Spiderwick Chronicles" $21.5 million and "Definitely, Maybe" $12.8 million.
Both "Fool's Gold" and "Jumper" were eviscerated by critics, but moviegoers evidently warmed to their storylines or advertising campaigns.
"Jumper," directed by Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity"), cost in the $80-million range to make, said Fox. About two-thirds of the audience was male moviegoers under 25, according to first-day polling data supplied by the News Corp-owned studio. The film was based on Steven Gould's young-adult sci-fi novels "Jumper" and "Reflex."
"Step Up 2 the Streets" revisits the formula that made "Step Up" a surprise hit in 2006: urban street dancing, relatively unknown buff actors and cutting-edge hip-hop music. Both films were released by Walt Disney Co.
Paramount Pictures' "The Spiderwick Chronicles," following the exploits of three children and a menagerie of goblins and fairies, pulled in a crowd that was 80 percent families, said the Viacom Inc-owned studio. Budgeted at just over $90 million, the movie is based on the best-selling short books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.
Young women made up about two-thirds of the audience for "Definitely, Maybe," a $24 million project starring Ryan Reynolds and Isla Fisher, said Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co's NBC Universal.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Cynthia Osterman