In Ann Arbor, Michigan, 15-year-old David Rice (Max Thieriot) gives his crush, Millie Harris (AnnaSophia Robb), a snow globe. A bully, Mark Kobold (Jesse James), throws it onto a frozen 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 his ability to "jump" from one place to another. Amazed with his new ability, he leaves his abusive father (Michael Rooker) and runs away from home.
Eight years later, an adult David (Hayden Christensen) lives lavishly on stolen money. One day, he is ambushed in his home by Roland Cox (Samuel L. Jackson), a member of the Paladins, a group of religious extremists who have been tracking down and killing "Jumpers". Their reasoning is that Jumpers' alleged omnipresence is considered blasphemous. Roland tries to capture David with electric cables designed to nullify his ability, but David escapes. He returns to Ann Arbor, seeking his old crush Millie (Rachel Bilson). When Mark (Teddy Dunn) attacks him, David teleports him into a bank vault and leaves him there. David then returns to Millie and invites her on a trip to Rome. Roland later discovers Mark in police custody and learns David's identity.
David and Millie arrive in Rome, though he keeps his ability a secret. After talking, they share a kiss and have sex. They visit the Colosseum, where David meets Griffin (Jamie Bell), another Jumper. A group of Paladins appear, and Griffin casually kills them, then jumps away. David tries to leave with Millie, but he's detained by Italian police and questioned about the deaths. David's mother, Mary (Diane Lane), who had left him when he was five, appears and helps him escape. She urges him to leave Rome with Millie, to protect her. Millie, upset and afraid when David tries to skirt around the issue, demands to know the truth. David declines and puts her on a plane home.
David runs into Griffin again, and follows him to his hideout in a cave. Griffin reveals that he has been trailing and killing Paladins for years and plans to kill Roland to avenge his parents. David sees Mary's photo on the wall and realizes she is also a Paladin. Griffin tells David that the Paladins will target his loved ones to draw him out. David teleports home and finds his father lying bleeding. He gets his father to a hospital and returns to Griffin to ask for help. Realizing Roland is personally hunting David, Griffin agrees.
They go to pick Millie up at the airport, but she is no longer there. Griffin returns to his hideout to get weapons. David breaks into Millie's apartment, angering her. Seeing Roland arriving, David decides to reveal the truth to her. He teleports her to Griffin's hideout. Using a machine that keeps David's "jump scar" open, the Paladins, including Roland, invade the hideout. David and Griffin subdue most of them. Roland is chased back through the jump scar, but he manages to snatch Millie with him. He sets up a trap in Millie's apartment, expecting David to come back for her.
Obsessed with killing Roland, Griffin plans to bomb the apartment; but David objects, wanting to save Millie. They fight and David traps Griffin with power lines in Chechnya. Ignoring Griffin's warning, David jumps to Millie's apartment and is quickly trapped by Roland's cables. The cables "link" him to the apartment, making him unable to jump away alone. Mustering his strength, David teleports the apartment and everyone inside to a river. Once free of the cables, David teleports Millie to safety and dumps Roland in a cave in the Grand Canyon. He leaves Roland there, explaining that not all Jumpers are a threat to be destroyed.
David visits his mother and discovers his half-sister, Sophie (Kristen Stewart). Mary tells David that when he was five, he made his first jump. She is a Paladin and had to either kill David or leave. After leaving her house, David meets with Millie outside, and they jump to an unknown location.Hayden Christensen as David Rice, a young man who discovers the ability to "jump".
Max Thieriot as 15-year-old David
Ryan Grantham as 5-year-old David
Rachel Bilson as Millie Harris, David's childhood friend and crush.
AnnaSophia Robb as young Millie Harris
Samuel L. Jackson as Roland Cox, the leader of the Paladins group, whose goal is to kill Jumpers. In the book, his name is Brian Cox, but it was changed in the film to prevent confusion with the English particle physicist or the Scottish character actor of the same name.
Jamie Bell as Griffin O'Connor, a renegade Jumper who tracks down and eliminates the Paladins. During his search, he becomes friends with David. His whereabouts at the end of the movie are unknown.
Diane Lane as Mary Rice, David's mother who separated from her son when he was five years old.
Teddy Dunn as Mark Kobold, David's childhood bully.
Jesse James as young Mark
Michael Rooker as William Rice, David's father.
Kristen Stewart as Sophie, David's half-sister. (Cameo)
Tom Hulce as Mr. Bowker
Barbara Garrick as Ellen
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. However, Liman desired another rewrite and Simon Kinberg assisted in completing the script. Liman said about using the novel for developing the script: "This is 100% Steven Gould's story, it's just reinvented as a movie." In an interview, Gould revealed that he approved of the deviations from the novel. Before filming was to begin, the studio announced plans to develop a trilogy based on the novel's premise.
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."
In April 2006, actors Tom Sturridge, Teresa Palmer, and Jamie Bell were cast for Jumper with Sturridge in the lead role. The following July, actor Samuel L. Jackson was cast as an Rolan Cox, 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. 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." Liman agreed on casting older actors for furthering the romantic aspect of the film. 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." After Christensen was recast for the lead role, Liman replaced Palmer with Rachel Bilson.
In September 2006, Jumper was filmed at various locations in Peterborough, Ontario and principal photography began in Toronto in October. 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. 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. In order to maximize the short period for filming, four steadicams were set up to ensure time was not wasted in reloading the camera. 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." 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. Another worker was injured and was sent to a hospital with serious head and shoulder injuries. 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. 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. 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. Since additional filming was required of the area, twenty other students were used for a day of filming in September. Altogether, filming took place in 20 cities in 14 countries.
The New Zealand visual effects studio Weta Digital was initially selected to assist in creating a preview clip for the 2007 Comic-Con Convention. The studio's 100 employees later developed the visual effects for 300 of the 600 shots in the film. 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. The jumps were developed using Nuke and Shake software; many, including those to Big Ben and the Sphinx were created with Maya. 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." Other visual effects studios that assisted with the film include Hydraulx, Digital Domain, and Pixel Magic. Lightwave 3D was also used for some of the movie's scenes.
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." Metacritic gives the film an average score of 35, based on 36 reviews.
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". 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.
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. The film was targeted at an audience of both males and females below the age of 25. 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. 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. 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. 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. It was the 28th highest-grossing film worldwide for 2008.
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.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in North America on June 10, 2008 and internationally on June 16. 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.
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." The game was released on February 12, 2008, two days before the film's wide release. GameRankings gave the Xbox 360 version of the game a 28% positive rating, based on 12 reviews. The PlayStation 2 version received a 35% positive rating while the Wii version had a 23% positive rating. 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."
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.
Oni Press released a graphic novel, Jumper: Jumpscars, that portrays several backstories related to the film. 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." The novel was written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir and illustrated by Brian Hurtt.
Author Steven Gould second novel in the Jumper series, Reflex, was published 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." 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."
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.