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.

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

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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