Weekend Forecast for February 14-18, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

February 14, 2008

Sam loves Whacking Day.

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A Thursday Valentine's Day makes Hollywood opt for an early start to the weekend, with four films getting their full debuts on the 14th, extending President's Day Weekend out to five days.

Although there's romance a-plenty out there, the leading candidate for the top spot at the box office is Jumper, which boasts one of the most original looking premises for an action film in some time. A young man, played by Hayden Christensen, discovers that he has the ability to warp through space to anyplace he can envision. In addition to saving on air travel, he can also jump into the middle of a bank vault and clear it out without setting off alarms, so he's got that going for him.

Soon he discovers that he's not the only person with this ability, and he's actually in the middle of a war between Jumpers and a society that is devoted to wiping them out, led by Samuel L. Jackson, sporting a shock white hairdo. Rounding out the cast are Rachel Bilson as the love interest, Jamie Bell and Diane Lane.

Directed by Doug Liman, who brought us The Bourne Identity, Mr. And Mrs. Smith, and of course, The O.C., Jumper seems willing to have a lot of fun with the ramifications of its concept – that visual of a double decker bus appearing in the middle of the desert is a sign a screenwriter enjoying himself fully.


One can't help but think this would be a summer blockbuster if it wasn't for the Anti-charismatic One in the lead role (okay, he was actually pretty good in Shattered Glass), but then there'd be nothing to watch in the rest of the year. Critically, it's taking a beating, but I don't believe that will make a big impact on its box office, as the concept will be enough to drive people to the theaters this weekend. Look for about $40 million over five days for an easy win.

If you're over the age of 25, you probably only vaguely remember the movie Step Up, which was one of the approximately 432 hip-hop dance related films released in the last five years. It was, however, one of the most successful of the bunch, opening to $20 million and earning $65 million total domestically. Inevitably, this has led to a sequel, Step Up 2 the Streets (using "2" for "to" means it's that much more cool).

Only tangentially related to the first film, by its setting in a Baltimore arts academy, it features a new group of dancers who have to balance their training with their love of underground street dancing, which apparently risks their actual careers, for some reason.

It also, as is pretty much required, involves something of love story between the leads, Brianna Evigan (daughter of My Two Dads actor Greg) and something named Robert Hoffman. Really, that's just there to fill time between dance sequences, which for this kind of film, look decently choreographed. There's been a crucial decision to have the (apparently) climatic scene filmed in the middle of a rainstorm, and heavily features Evigan in one of those strategically ripped shirts that's so popular these days. Putting it in the trailer will undoubtedly sell a few tickets to horny males (hey, don't get mad at me – it's not like I've giving away trade secrets here). If it wasn't a part of the Step Up "franchise", I wouldn't be nearly as optimistic about its chances, but given that tenuous connection, this sequel should be able to pull off a five-day total of about $23 million.

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