"Jumper" leaps to top of North American box office

Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:56pm EST
 
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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)

 
<p>Director Doug Liman and actors Samuel L. Jackson, Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson attend the premiere of the movie Jumper at the Zeigfeld Theater in New York, February 11, 2008. REUTERS/Marko Georgiev</p>