Friday Box Office: Relativity Media's 'Limitless' No. 1 with $6.6 Million
UPDATED: But the flight of young people from theaters continues to alarm Hollywood, with 94% of the audience for Lionsgate's "Lincoln Lawyer" over the age of 25.
In a boost for Relativity Media's new marketing and distribution operation, Bradley Cooper starrer Limitless opened to No. 1 at the Friday box office, grossing an estimated $6.6 million from 2,756 theaters.
After that, it was a tight race between the two other new movies, the Matthew McConaughy legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer and Universal's sci-fi comedy Paul, and two holdovers, Battle: Los Angeles and sleeper hit Rango.
The four films grossed between $4.1 million and $4.5 million, led by Sony's Battle at $4.5 million from 3,417 theaters for a cume of $50.5 million in its first eight days (sci-fi actioner fell 66% from the previous Friday).
Paul grossed an estimated $4.4 million from 3,843 theaters, while Rango fell a narrow 21% to $4.3 million from 3,843 locations for a cume of $81.5 million. Lincoln Lawyer grossed an estimated $4.1 million from 2,707 theaters.
But what really had Hollywood talking was the continued absence of young people. All three new films skewed older, with 94% of Lincoln Lawyer's audience over the age of 25 (54% were over the age of 50), an astounding statistic.
Of those buying tickets for Limitless, 69% were over the age of 25. Even Paul--targeting fanboys--played older, with 58% over the age of 25.
Lincoln Lawyer drew a strong A- CinemaScore, while Limitless and Paul each earned a B+.
Limitless is on track to win the weekend crown with as much as $18 million. Rango has a shot at No. 2, while Battle could come in No. 3, although the volatility of the box office makes predictions difficult.
In a first, Lionsgate and Groupon teamed to offer $6 tickets for Lincoln Lawyer (in some cases it was reportedly $1). Rival studios have complained that the Groupon promotion could inflate grosses, since those tickets are counted at full price.
So far, only 20,000 tickets have been redeemed, which equals about $160,000 in grosses -- not enough to move the needle. Lionsgate views the Groupon as a promotional tool.