Jumper (film)

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Movie poster with the Egyptian Sphinx monument at the bottom of the image and two pyramids visible in the background. A man is standing on top of the Sphinx's head, facing forward. Sunlight behind him makes it difficult to see most details. The sky has multiple clouds, and at the top of the image is the tagline "anywhere is possible." At the bottom of the image is the film's title and website for the film.
Promotional poster
Directed by Doug Liman
Produced by Simon Kinberg
Lucas Foster
Jay Sanders
Stacy Maes
Screenplay by David S. Goyer
Jim Uhls
Simon Kinberg
Story by Steven Gould
Starring Hayden Christensen
Jamie Bell
Rachel Bilson
Michael Rooker
AnnaSophia Robb
Max Thieriot
Diane Lane
Samuel L. Jackson
Music by John Powell
Cinematography Barry Peterson
Edited by Saar Klein
Don Zimmerman
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • February 14, 2008 (2008-02-14)
Running time
88 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $85 million[2]
Box office $222,231,186[3]

Jumper is a 2008 American science fiction film directed by Doug Liman, loosely based on the 1992 science fiction novel of the same name written by Steven Gould. The film is directed by Doug Liman and stars Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Max Thieriot, AnnaSophia Robb, and Diane Lane. The film follows a young man capable of teleporting as he is chased by a secret society intent on killing him.

The script went through a rewrite prior to filming and the roles for the main characters were changed during production. Jumper was filmed in 20 cities in 14 countries between 2006-07. The film was released on February 14, 2008 and a soundtrack on February 19. The film held the first position in its opening weekend with $27.3 million, but received generally negative reviews from critics, mostly due to the limited plot.


In Ann Arbor, Michigan, 15-year-old David Rice gives his crush, Millie Harris, a snow globe. A bully, Mark Kobold, throws the globe onto the ice near a river. While trying to retrieve it, David falls through the ice and is pulled away by the current. He suddenly finds himself in the local library and discovers he can "jump" (teleport) from one place and instantly appear in another. Amazed with his new ability, he runs away and is believed dead by his alcoholic father.

Eight years later, an adult David (Christensen) lives lavishly using money stolen via his jumping ability. One day, he is ambushed in his home by Roland Cox (Jackson). Roland belongs to the Paladins, a group of religious extremists which has been tracking down and killing these teleporters, the "Jumpers", because they believe "only God should have the ability to be everywhere at once". He tries to trap David with a system of high-voltage cables, which prevent him from being able to jump. David escapes and returns home to Ann Arbor, seeking his old crush Millie. He is attacked by Mark, the same bully, and purposely teleports him into a bank vault then leaves him there. David then returns to Millie and invites her to travel with him by conventional means to Rome. Roland later discovers Mark in police custody and so learns David's identity.

David and Millie arrive in Rome. David attempts to keep his true nature as a thief and his power a secret. After talking they share a kiss and have sex. They visit the Colosseum, only to find it closed, so David uses his ability to unlock a door from the inside, telling Millie the door was already unlocked. There he discovers another Jumper, Griffin who warns David that the Anti-Jumper Brigade henchmen are coming. Several Paladins appear and attack them. Griffin kills one and teleports away. David tries to leave with Millie, but is detained by Italian police and questioned about the death. While waiting for a magistrate to arrive, David's mother, Mary, who had left David when he was five, appears and helps him escape. David tries to follow his mother, but she says David must leave now or Millie will die. David tells Millie the police let him go, and they leave together. Millie, now very suspicious, demands the truth. David declines and puts her on a plane home.

David jumps to Griffin's lair and asks where to find Roland. Griffin tells David that the Paladins will kill Jumpers by targeting their loved ones. Griffin says he has been trying to kill Roland to avenge his parents. Realizing that his father is now a target, David teleports to his father and finds him bleeding. David teleports him to a hospital and returns to Griffin to ask for help. They go to pick Millie up at the airport, but she is no longer there. Griffin returns to get weapons from his lair while David searches for Millie. He breaks into Millie's apartment, angering her. David sees Roland arriving, so David decides to show Millie his abilities. He saves her by teleporting her back to Griffin's lair. The Paladins follow using a machine that keeps the "jump scar" open, and fight David and Griffin. Roland is chased back through the portal to Mille's apartment, but he snatches Millie with him with a cable.

Griffin decides to bomb the apartment, but David refuses, wanting to save Millie. They fight and David traps Griffin with power lines in Chechnya. Griffin warns that if David faces the Paladins alone he will be outnumbered. David goes anyway and is quickly trapped by Roland's cables. David cannot escape as he is physically tied to the apartment by the cables, so he teleports the apartment, Roland, Millie and himself to a river. Once free of the cables, David teleports Millie to safety and dumps Roland in a cave in the Grand Canyon, explaining he could have killed him; David spared Roland to teach him a lesson.

David visits his mother and discovers that he has a half-sister, Sophie (Kristen Stewart). Mary tells David she has known he was a Jumper since he was five, when Jumpers make their first jump. She is a Paladin, and had to either kill David or leave. Since she left David when he was a child, she prefers him to leave, allowing him a head start. He meets with Millie outside and they jump to an unknown location.


A woman and man, both smiling, are walking towards the left side of the image. The woman is wearing a white, button-up shirt and blue jeans. The man is wearing a green jacket, a blue shirt, a backpack, and blue jeans. In the background a man can be seen sitting and looking down.
Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen filming in Rome in November 2006


Script and storyboards[edit]

In November 2005, New Regency Productions hired director Doug Liman to helm the film adaptation of the science fiction novel Jumper by Steven Gould. Screenwriter Jim Uhls was hired to rewrite an adapted screenplay by David S. Goyer.[4] However, Liman desired another rewrite and Simon Kinberg assisted in completing the script.[4] Liman said about using the novel for developing the script: "This is 100% Steven Gould's story, it's just reinvented as a movie."[5] In an interview, Gould revealed that he approved of the deviations from the novel.[5] Before filming was to begin, the studio announced plans to develop a trilogy based on the novel's premise.[6]

While other films tend to use only one storyboard artist, Jumper required six, who each worked on an individual action sequence. The artists were given specific instruction on the rules of the teleportation used in the film, to ensure accuracy in the storyboarding. One of them, Rob McCallum, reflected on the instructions: "I was just thinking, 'How would a guy that can teleport fight?' So you were really pushing yourself to try to think of inventive, cool, spectacular ways that you could use this jumping talent that these characters have."[7]


In April 2006, actors Tom Sturridge, Teresa Palmer, and Jamie Bell were cast for Jumper with Sturridge in the lead role (who won the role over Heath Ledger, Devon Sawa, Eminem, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Jared Padalecki).[8] The following July, actor Samuel L. Jackson was cast as an NSA agent, with producer Simon Kinberg rewriting the original screenplay draft by Goyer. Principal photography was scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Rome, Toronto, and New York.[9] Production was stopped in June 2006 after producer Tom Rothman told Liman "The lead is 18. Wouldn't the movie be better if he was 25? You have a huge movie here and adults won't go and see an 18-year-old. They'll consider it a children's movie. You could make a bigger movie than that."[10] Liman agreed on casting older actors for furthering the romantic aspect of the film.[11] In August, actor Hayden Christensen replaced Sturridge in the lead role as David just two weeks before the beginning of shooting, as the studio "became concerned about not having a more prominent actor in their trio of young stars."[12] After Christensen was recast for the lead role, Liman replaced Palmer with Rachel Bilson.[10]


In September 2006, Jumper was filmed at various locations in Peterborough, Ontario and principal photography began in Toronto in October.[4][13] In December 2006, Liman negotiated with the Rome Film Commission for rare access to film for three days in the Colosseum. The scene in the Colosseum was originally written for the Pantheon, at which exterior shots were also filmed. The crew was required to keep equipment off the ground by using harnesses and had to rely on natural light for filming.[14] Filming took place for 45 minutes in the morning and in the evening so as not to disturb the public touring the amphitheater throughout the day.[15] In order to maximize the short period for filming, four steadicams were set up to ensure time was not wasted in reloading the camera.[10] A visual effects supervisor explained how visual effects were needed for various aspects after filming: "There were three kinds of shots: there were shots where they were able to get most of what they needed in the Collosseum [sic] itself; and then there were shots on a set that needed extensions beyond the limits of the set; and then there were shots where we needed to create the Coliseum basically from scratch."[16]

After filming in Rome, scenes were filmed in Toronto during December 2006 to January 2007 and wrapped at the Canadian location on January 19. On January 26 in Toronto, 56-year-old David Ritchie, a set dresser, was fatally struck by frozen debris while dismantling an outdoor set in wintry conditions.[4][17] Another worker was injured and was sent to a hospital with serious head and shoulder injuries.[18] After Toronto, the cast and crew traveled to Tokyo to film scenes. One scene required over 30 shoots as the scene could only be filmed in between traffic light changes.[10] As a result of director Liman insisting Christensen perform his own stunts, the actor injured his hand, split open his ear, and developed a hyperdilated pupil that required hospital care while filming various scenes.[11][19]

In February 2007, the next filming site was set up at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sixty students from the nearby Huron High School were cast as extras for the film.[20] Since additional filming was required of the area, twenty other students were used for a day of filming in September.[21] Altogether, filming took place in 20 cities in 14 countries.[22]

Visual effects[edit]

The New Zealand visual effects studio Weta Digital was initially selected to assist in creating a preview clip for the 2007 Comic-Con Convention.[16] The studio's 100 employees later developed the visual effects for 300 of the 600 shots in the film.[11][16][23] In total, there are more than 100 jumps in the film, and each jump was modified based on the distance and location the character(s) jumped.[24] The jumps were developed using Nuke and Shake software;[16] many, including those to Big Ben and the Sphinx were created with Maya.[24] Weta's VFX supervisor Erik Winquist explained how the visual effects of the jumps were created: "The concept of what a jump looks like changed and evolved a little over the course of post production. There are shots in the film that use still array footage but not in the same way that we saw in The Matrix. The Matrix was largely about stopping time whereas this was about using slow shutter speeds on those still array cameras to end up with a streaky motion-blurred image as the perspective was changing, which is a pretty interesting look."[24] Other visual effects studios that assisted with the film include Hydraulx, Digital Domain, and Pixel Magic.[16] Lightwave 3D was also used for some of the movie's scenes.

Critical reception[edit]

The film received generally negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 16% based on reviews from 156 critics, with an average score of 4/10; the consensus was "An erratic action pic with little coherence and lackluster special effects."[25] Metacritic gives the film an average score of 35, based on 36 reviews.[26] The movie was a box-office success, grossing over $222 million worldwide.

Austin Chronicle '​s Marc Salov called the film "...pretty slick, entertaining stuff, well-crafted by Liman, edited into a tight, action-packed bundle of nerviness."[27] Edward Douglas of ComingSoon.net wrote that the film was "An impressive feat as a vehicle for Doug Liman to pull out the stops with some of the most jaw-dropping stunts shot in some of the most amazing locations on earth."[28] Empire had a verdict of "[Doug] Liman’s least charismatic action movie and the least developed, but it still packs some cracking action into its brief running time and lays foundations on which a great franchise could be built." Australian film reviewer David Stratton was far less kind, stating that "this film represents a new [watershed] in the history of the cinema because it's got no plot, it's got no characters, it's got no action scene that makes any kind of sense", and awarded it half a star out of five.[29]

Box office[edit]

The film was released on February 14, 2008 in the United States and Canada, in the hopes of pulling in business on Valentine's Day.[30] The film was targeted at an audience of both males and females below the age of 25.[2] Jumper grossed $27.3 million on 4,600 screens in 3,428 theaters from Friday to Sunday, ranking first for the weekend at the box office.[2][31] In its first weekend, the film set the record for the largest February release in Korea and had the first place position in 11 of the 30 markets it was released in.[32] For the first two weekends of its release, the film maintained its number one position in international markets, while slipping to the second position in the United States to the release of Vantage Point.[33] The film's worldwide gross is $221,231,186 with $80,172,128 from the box office in the United States and Canada and $142,059,058 from other territories.[3] It was the 28th highest-grossing film worldwide for 2008.[34]


Jumper: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by John Powell
Released February 19, 2008
Label Lakeshore Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[35]

The score for the film was released on February 19, 2008, after the film's release in theaters. The tracks were all written by John Powell. The music was conducted by Brett Weymark and performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.[36]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in North America on June 10, 2008 and internationally on June 16.[37] Special features include a commentary, deleted scenes, an animated graphic novel, featurettes, and a digital copy allowing consumers to watch the film on portable devices.[37]

Video game[edit]

A video game titled Jumper: Griffin's Story was made for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and Wii consoles. The storyline focuses on the character Griffin as he attempts to avenge the death of his parents. Nicholas Longano of the video game publisher Brash Entertainment stated, "From the very first script read, we knew this had to be made into a game. The teleportation elements make for some very compelling gameplay."[38] The game was released on February 12, 2008, two days before the film's wide release.[39] Game Rankings gave the Xbox 360 version of the game a 28% positive rating, based on 12 reviews.[40] The PlayStation 2 version received a 35% positive rating while the Wii version had a 23% positive rating.[40] Daemon Hatfield of IGN reviewed the Xbox 360 version and gave it a negative review: "Low production values, monotonous gameplay, and lackluster visuals make this a story you can jump past."[41]

Novel tie-ins[edit]

Steven Gould, the author of Jumper and Reflex also wrote Jumper: Griffin's Story as a tie-in for the film. The novel, released on August 21, 2007, focuses on the character Griffin which was created by screenwriter David S. Goyer specifically for the film. Because Griffin had not appeared in the two prior novels, Gould developed Jumper: Griffin's Story as a backstory of the character's early childhood before the film. When writing the novel, Gould had to work closely with a producer of the film to ensure that the story did not conflict with the film's premise.[42]

Oni Press released a graphic novel, Jumper: Jumpscars, that portrays several backstories related to the film.[43] The novel was released on February 13, 2008, one day before the film's wide release. A publisher for Oni Press commented on the tie-in to the film, stating: "The world that was being built around these characters was so well-realized and the mythology so interesting that other stories about this conflict would be plentiful and add to what the filmmakers were building."[43] The novel was written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir and illustrated by Brian Hurtt.


Author Stephen Gould second novel in the Jumper series,Reflex, was pusblished in 2004 (by 2014, two more Gould novels in the series have been published).

Prior to the film's 2008 release, Hayden Christensen reflected on the possibility of one or more sequels: "This has definitely been set up in a way that will allow for more films, and Doug has been careful to make sure that he's created characters that will have room to grow."[11] Lucas Foster during production of the film stated in an interview: "The ideas got so large, that they really couldn't fit into, you know, one or two movies, they needed to evolve over at least three movies. So we planned the story out over three movies and then we sliced it up in such a way as to leave room for the other two movies."[5]

In response to the film's box office performance, director Doug Liman has spoken of his ideas for a sequel. Among them are that Jumpers can reach other planets and travel in time, as well as their capacity for espionage. He has also stated that Rachel Bilson's character would learn how to jump (hinted by David falling unconscious before the jump from the river to the library), just as in Gould's sequel, Reflex.[44]


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External links[edit]