Weekend Box Office (February 15 - 18, 2008)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Moviegoers lined up to see ex-Jedis Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson duke it out sending their new science fiction actioner Jumper to number one over the four-day Presidents' Day holiday weekend. The kids fantasy adventure The Spiderwick Chronicles premiered in second place while the dance drama Step Up 2 The Streets debuted in third. For the first time ever, three films opened to more than $20M each over the extended Presidents' Day holiday frame.

Landing in the number one spot, Fox's sci-fi action entry Jumper easily led the field opening to $32.1M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday period, according to final studio figures. Playing in 3,428 theaters, the PG-13 pic averaged a muscular $9,362 and has taken in $38.7M since its Thursday launch. The Christensen-Jackson film met with horrible reviews from critics, but audiences didn't care and instead responded to the slick marketing campaign.

Debuting in second was the effects-heavy fantasy pic The Spiderwick Chronicles with $24.7M from 3,847 theaters for a solid $6,431 average. Paramount's PG-rated adventure has grossed $27.1M since its Thursday debut. Aimed at family audiences, Spiderwick should continue to have its target demographic all to itself over the next two weeks when many schools take their winter breaks as no other kidpics will open. Critics gave a very positive response. The Friday-to-Monday tally was just a few notches behind the $28.5M four-day bow of last year's kids fantasy pic Bridge to Terabithia which debuted over the same holiday frame before finding its way to $82.3M.

Buena Vista swiped the third place spot with its dance sequel Step Up 2 The Streets which opened with an impressive $22.1M over four days from 2,470 sites. The PG-13 teen tale played in about 1,000 fewer theaters than Jumper but generated a similar averge of $8,958. Since debuting on Valentine's Day, Streets has grossed $28.7M. According to studio research, young women led the way with 60% of the crowd being female and 65% being under the age of 25.

Although it had a different release pattern, the sequel's three-day opening of $18.9M was close to the $20.7M bow of 2006's Step Up which was a summer title and featured a different cast. Rather than relying on starpower, Buena Vista focused on keeping the music and dancing as updated as possible with a marketing campaign that made full use of the hit song "Low" from Flo Rida which has been the nation's number one song for the last eight consecutive weeks. Look for the studio to continue to develop the Step Up brand just like Universal did with its Bring It On property which continues to spawn lucrative direct-to-DVD titles.

The critically-panned adventure comedy Fool's Gold held up reasonably well after its number one debut last week. Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson witnessed a moderate drop to $14.9M pushing the eleven-day tally to a sturdy $43.8M. Budgeted at $70M, the Warner Bros. flick should find its way to $70-75M domestically.

Opening in fifth with the smallest debut among the frame's four new releases was the romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe with $11.5M over the Friday-to-Monday period and $14.6M since its Thursday bow. Playing in 2,204 locations, the PG-13 pic averaged a moderate $5,205 over four days. Adult women made up the primary audience as 67% of the crowd was female and 54% was over 30. The $24M film earned generally good reviews from critics.

The holiday weekend's four new releases grossed a combined $90.4M over the Friday-to-Monday session and $109.2M since Thursday. This year marked the first time that every new wide release opened on the Thursday Valentine's Day holiday to get an early jump on the Presidents' Day weekend. Thanks to a wide variety of product, ticket buyers came out in strong numbers and found something to their liking.

Falling from second to sixth was Martin Lawrence's latest comedy Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins with $9.9M for an eleven-day cume of $30.2M. The $35M Universal release should end up with roughly $50M. Fox Searchlight's indie comedy Juno followed with $5.6M giving the Oscar-nominated pic a stellar $125M to date. The Ellen Page hit has now spent nine consecutive weeks in the top ten, the most for any film since last April's Disturbia.

The Bucket List kept bringing in business dipping to $4.7M for a $81.7M total for Warner Bros. Plunging in its third tour was Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus with $4.4M which bumped Disney's cume up to $59.5M. The ten spot saw Katherine Heigl's 27 Dresses collect $3.9M giving the Fox comedy $70.6M to date.

The top ten films grossed $133.8M over four days which was down 18% from last year's record session when Ghost Rider opened at number one with $52M; but up 4% from 2006 when Eight Below debuted in the top spot with $25M.

Compared to four-day projections, Jumper and The Spiderwick Chronicles both opened very close to my respective forecasts of $30M and $24M. Step Up 2 The Streets powered ahead of my $15M prediction while Definitely, Maybe debuted a bit higher than my $8M projection.

For a NEW review of The Spiderwick Chronicles visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Vantage Point, Be Kind Rewind, Witless Protection, and Charlie Bartnett all open.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Feb 15 - 18 Feb 8 - 10 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Jumper $ 32,092,991 3,428 1 $ 9,362 $ 38,718,006 Fox
2 The Spiderwick Chronicles 24,740,537 3,847 1 6,431 27,116,417 Paramount
3 Step Up 2 The Streets 22,125,429 2,470 1 8,958 28,725,889 Buena Vista
4 Fool's Gold 14,885,386 21,589,295 -31.1 3,125 2 4,763 43,810,073 Warner Bros.
5 Definitely, Maybe 11,472,255 2,204 1 5,205 14,591,460 Universal
6 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins 9,942,740 16,207,730 -38.7 2,387 2 4,165 30,183,630 Universal
7 Juno 5,582,865 5,601,149 -0.3 1,865 11 2,993 125,047,654 Fox Searchlight
8 The Bucket List 4,674,489 5,277,433 -11.4 2,307 8 2,026 81,654,211 Warner Bros.
9 Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus 4,386,852 10,295,922 -57.4 685 3 6,404 59,514,414 Buena Vista
10 27 Dresses 3,887,914 5,409,671 -28.1 1,936 5 2,008 70,649,785 Fox
11 The Eye 3,723,037 6,528,301 -43.0 2,129 3 1,749 26,868,733 Lionsgate
12 There Will Be Blood 3,674,271 3,978,322 -7.6 1,410 8 2,606 31,619,154 Par. Vantage
13 Rambo 2,387,342 4,482,012 -46.7 1,702 4 1,403 40,587,110 Lionsgate
14 No Country For Old Men 2,294,041 2,214,933 3.6 925 15 2,480 61,336,965 Miramax
15 Untraceable 2,016,548 3,475,325 -42.0 1,368 4 1,474 27,405,004 Sony
16 Meet the Spartans 1,888,847 4,110,561 -54.0 1,532 4 1,233 36,665,058 Fox
17 Atonement 1,758,291 2,077,827 -15.4 784 11 2,243 47,757,414 Focus
18 National Treasure: BOS 1,656,731 2,150,147 -22.9 850 9 1,949 215,022,515 Buena Vista
19 Jodhaa Akbar 1,602,356 100 1 16,024 1,602,356 UTV
20 Alvin and the Chipmunks 1,547,015 1,823,016 -15.1 995 10 1,555 211,812,206 Fox
Top 5 $ 105,316,598 $ 60,222,397 74.9
Top 10 133,791,458 83,480,396 60.3
Top 20 156,339,937 103,441,653 51.1
Top 20 vs. 2007 156,339,937 177,954,812 -12.1

Last Updated: February 19, 2008 at 10:30PM ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Friday at 9:50am ET.