February 14, 2008 / 6:53 AM / 10 years ago

Movies get early start for Valentine's Day

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Cupid has a soft spot for Hollywood this year. Four movies, led by the sci-fi thriller “Jumper,” will get an early start on the Presidents Day holiday weekend by opening Thursday for Valentine’s Day.

<p>Samuel L. Jackson (L) and Hayden Christensen attend the premiere of the movie "Jumper" at the Zeigfeld Theater in New York February 11, 2008. REUTERS/Marko Georgiev</p>

In 2002, there were five wide openers on the Friday following Valentine’s Day, and in 1991, three films bowed during the post-Cupid Day weekend. But there’s really no precedent for such a chorus of executives proclaiming, “Valentine’s Day on a Thursday? Let’s go out a day early!”

“Valentine’s Day has become a very strong-grossing day over the past couple years,” said Chuck Viane, president of domestic theatrical distribution at Walt Disney Co. “And with Presidents Day on Monday making a five-day weekend, it became obvious to everyone this could be the start of something very good.”

Other Valentine’s openers include Disney’s dance sequel “Step Up 2 the Streets,” Paramount’s family fantasy “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” and Universal’s romantic comedy “Definitely, Maybe.”

Fox’s “Jumper,” starring Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson, looks safe to do at least $30 million during the five-day period. “Spiderwick” should easily pull in $25 million from youngsters and their parents.

“Step Up 2” follows a high-steppin’ franchise progenitor that bowed during a three-day frame in August 2006 with $20.7 million. If the urban-skewing film plays just a bit more broadly than the original, it could nip at the heels of “Spiderwick.”

“Definitely, Maybe,” the most obvious Valentine’s Day fare of the bunch, might be a bit hampered by a recent glut of female-skewing films in the marketplace.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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