'Jumper' lands atop boxoffice
EmptyGetting a jump from Valentine's Day and an extra bounce on Presidents Day, Fox's sci-fi adventure "Jumper" opened with an estimated $38.3 million over its first five days and topped the four-day domestic frame with $31.7 million.
Three other wide openers also opened on Thursday for Valentine's Day.
The family fantasy "The Spiderwick Chronicles," a children's book adaptation from Paramount, rang up $26.8 million since Thursday and finished second over the four-day weekend with $24.5 million.
Disney's dance sequel "Step Up 2 the Streets," a Summit Entertainment co-production, kicked up a much bigger fuss than expected to finish third with $21.5 million and a five-day cume of $28.1 million.
And Universal's Working Title-produced romantic comedy "Definitely, Maybe" finished fifth on the frame with $11.4 million, grossing $14.5 million since its Valentine's bow.
Warner Bros.' Matthew McConaughey-Kate Hudson starrer "Fool's Gold" grossed $15 million in its second weekend to finish fourth and push the adventure film's 11-day cume to $44 million. Over Friday through Saturday, "Gold" coin dropped a modest 40% from its opening frame.
Universal's Martin Lawrence starrer "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" dropped 47% in its sophomore session to ring up $10.4 million in sixth place over the long frame, shaping a $30.7 million cume.
Limited openers this weekend included George A. Romero's "Diary of the Dead," the first title from the Weinstein Co.'s new genre label, Third Rail Releasing. The horror film opened Friday in 42 theaters to gross $275,000 or $6,555 per venue.
Industrywide, the weekend's $161 million represented a 14% downtick from the same frame a year ago, according to data tracker Nielsen EDI. Year-to-date, 2008 is 12% ahead of the same portion of last year at $1.12 billion.
Meanwhile, Oscar's best picture nominees continued to do some notable coin.
Fox Searchlight's comedy "Juno" scored $5.5 million from 1,865 playdates to finish in seventh place and shape a cume of $125 million.
The Daniel Day-Lewis starrer "There Will Be Blood" from Paramount Vantage and Miramax grossed $3.7 million from 1,410 locations to pump its cume to $31.6 million.
Universal's Working-Title produced "Atonement" rung up $1.7 million from 784 engagements to push its cume to $47.7 million.
Miramax/Paramount Vantage's Coen brothers thriller "No Country for Old Men" grossed $2.2 million from 925 venues for a $61.3 million cume.
And Warners' George Clooney starrer "Michael Clayton" rung up $1.2 million from 540 playdates, moving its cume to $47.7 million.
Sony Pictures Classics' Iranian-themed "Persepolis," nominated for the best animated feature Oscar, added 87 theaters for a total of 212 and grossed almost $526,739, or $2,485 per venue, with an almost $3 million cume.
Elsewhere in the specialty market, Focus' Colin Farrell starrer "In Bruges" added 84 sites for a total of 112 and grossed $1.1 million, or $10,050 per location, with a $1.7 million cume.
IFC's drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days" added 12 theaters for a total of 33 and grossed $158,400, or $4,800 per venue, with a $570,367 cume.
And SPC's Middle Eastern-themed "The Band's Visit" added six playdates for a total of 13 in grossing $159,832, or $12,295 per engagement with a cume of $288,102.
Directed by Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity") and starring Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson, "Jumper" was produced for an estimated $85 million and heavily marketed in TV ads including a Super Bowl spot. Drawing audiences that skewed younger and slightly male, the New Regency co-production is a good candidate to spawn sequels, execs said.
"When you do this kind of business, it's always a consideration," Fox senior vp Bert Livingston said.
Also a prospective franchise-starter, "Spiderwick" was helmed by Mark Waters ("Just Like Heaven," "Mean Girls") and drew family audiences evenly split between male and female patrons. Paramount co-produced the film with sister unit Nickelodeon Movies at an estimated cost of just over $90 million.
"It think it's the start we needed," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said. "Ultimately, with a family movie, it's all about how they play."
Foreign grosses also will be important in deciding whether to greenlight additional "Spiderwick" installments, with most international territories set to open the film in the spring. Domestically, "Spiderwick" was aided by meaty grosses from 84 Imax screens totaling $1.9 million, or $22,500 per venue.
With Jon Chu ("When the Kids Are Away") taking over helming chores this time, "Step Up 2" played well beyond its urban base. The sequel drew audiences 60% female and patrons mostly age 13-25.
"It couldn't be sweeter," Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said of the robust bow. "This is just great."
Asked if the outsized performance might lead to a second sequel, Viane added, "I don't know the answer to that, but I certainly would support it."
The original "Step Up" bowed over a three-day frame in August 2006 with $20.7 million en route to a domestic haul of $65.3 million.
Starring Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine") and Ryan Reynolds ("The Nines"), "Definitely" most likely can expect to continue to build on its respectable bow, Universal execs said.
"We know from working a long time with our partners, Working Title, that these are not films that open to extraordinarily high numbers on the weekend but (that) tend to play for a long time in the marketplace," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "(So) the movie is performing like we expected it to perform."
"Definitely" -- directed by Adam Brooks, a veteran film scribe ("Wimbledon") and sometimes helmer ("The Invisible Circus") -- drew audiences comprised 54% of patrons over age 30, with 67% of patrons female.
Looking to next weekend, MGM unspools the Robert Downey Jr. comedy "Charlie Bartlett," Lionsgate bows its Larry the Cable Guy comedy "Witless Protection" and Sony debuts the Dennis Quaid political actioner "Vantage Point."