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''Jumper'' vaults to No. 1

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Michael Gibson

We’re most of the way through the double-holiday weekend and Jumper has, er, jumped out to a commanding box office lead over a slew of strong contenders.

According to early estimates, the Hayden Christensen sci-fi action thriller took in $27.2 million from Friday to Sunday. Add in its Valentine’s Day gross of $6.6 mil on Thursday, and the Doug Liman-directed film has already banked $33.9 mil heading into Monday’s Presidents Day holiday. All of which is in line with expectations and good news for Jumper: Although its numbers aren’t as big as for that other recent boy-baiting blockbuster, Cloverfield (which enjoyed a three-day opening of $40.1 mil), they do land Jumper in the middle of the ranks of the all-time best Presidents Day weekend premieres (last year’s Ghost Rider is still tops on that chart, with $45.4 mil over three days and $52 mil over five). While its middling CinemaScore grade of B indicates mere lukewarm enthusiasm from moviegoers, the film can still expect a hefty haul at the box office on Monday.

So, too, can Step Up 2 the Streets and The Spiderwick Chronicles, which are locked in a pitched battle for second place. After the Sunday estimates, Step Up 2 has a slight edge, dancing with $19.7 mil from Friday to Sunday, while Spiderwick caught $19.1 mil in its web for the three days; final figures (coming on Tuesday this week) will determine the order of finish. Nevertheless, these remain solid tallies for both films — Step Up 2 nearly equaled the $20.7 mil debut of its 2006 predecessor, while Spiderwick came on strong after its weak $2.3 mil debut on Thursday. Both also received sweet A- CinemaScore grades, portending leggy runs at the box office…for at least another week.

Speaking of movies holding on strong, the Matthew McConaughey-Kate Hudson romantic comedy Fool’s Gold got a boost from Valentine’s Day lovebirds, falling a moderate 39 percent from its opening weekend tally; its $13.1 mil puts it at No. 4 in its second weekend. But the holdover easily beat out the only new flick for llllovahs, Definitely, Maybe (No. 5), which drew legions of older women and banked an okay $9.7 mil from Friday to Sunday.

Overall, the cumulative box office was down a steep 14 percent from the same frame a year ago, when Ghost Rider debuted to all sorts of records and renown. Anyway, here’s to a great Presidents Day holiday — enjoy your Franklin Pierce memorial services, or whatever it is you have planned.

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