BOX OFFICE: Limitless Wins Soft Box Office Weekend

Bradley Cooper is back on top. After his A-Team played second fiddle to The Karate Kid last summer, we haven’t seen much of Cooper. He last made it to the big screen when Paramount decided to unload Case 39 into theaters to see if it could generate an audience. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Actually, Limitless‘ $19 million gross eclipsed the entire box office total of that psychological thriller, which also starred Rene Zellweger and Ian McShane.

The opening was better than what Relativity Media and other box office prognosticators had expected. This is good news for Relativity Media, because it also had a hand in the production of the sci-fi comedy Paul for Universal, which finished fifth for the weekend with $13.1 million.

Holdovers from last weekend, Rango and Battle: Los Angeles continued to see a steady stream of business. Paramount’s animated western only lost 32% of its total audience from the week prior to bring its three-week total to $92.6 million. Sony Pictures’ military against aliens action flick dropped a whopping 59% from its opening weekend where it collected $36 million. Still, if the reports are to be believed, the shaky-cam war flick only cost $70 million. With $60 million earned after two weeks, it shouldn’t have any problems making it to $95 million domestic, and will probably go on to earn $200+ million overall when including foreign grosses. Overseas audiences love explosions as much as American audiences.

The Lincoln Lawyer is an interesting story. Studio Lionsgate decided to team with Groupon and offer $6 tickets. And if you were new to using Groupon you had the chance to get tickets for only a single dollar. While estimates have the legal thriller finishing with $13.4 million, just a few hundred thousand above that of Paul, it will be interesting to see what the actual totals for The Lincoln Lawyer will be, because the Groupon promotion could have inflated the overall gross, since those tickets are counted at full price.

Lionsgate is reporting that of 200,000 coupons purchased, only 40,000 were redeemed. That equals about $320,000 in grosses. But the portion that Lionsgate subsidized is only $100,000, since the nationwide average ticket price is $8.

Finishing sixth this weekend was Warner Bros.’ Red Riding Hood. In its first ten days of release it has a cume of $26 million.

The top ten release with the smallest drop in attendance was Disney’s Mars Needs Moms. The drop was only 23% but because the film opened so poorly, the animated release continues to struggle. With a $150 million budget, it has only been able to gross $23.2 million worldwide after two weeks in release.

Taking a look at independent and arthouse releases, Fox Searchlight’s Win Win debuted on five screens and collected $154k. Roadside Attractions’ The Music Never Stops opened on 32 screens, but only earned $88.5k. Jane Eyre expanded from four to twenty-six screens this weekend and saw its attendance increase by 161%. It finished the weekend with $478k. Take a chance on independent releases. You might be surprised.

1. Limitless – $19 million
2. Rango – $15.3 million ($92.6 million overall)
3. Battle: Los Angeles – $14.6 million ($60.6 million overall)
4. The Lincoln Lawyer – $13.4 million
5. Paul – $13.1 million
6. Red Riding Hood – $7.3 million ($26 million overall)
7. The Adjustment Bureau – $6 million ($49 million overall)
8. Mars Needs Moms – $5.3 million ($15.4 million overall)
9. Beastly– $3.2 million ($22 million overall)
10. Hall Pass – $2.6 million ($40 million overall)

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