Box Office Report: Neeson's 'Grey' Tops Friday With $6.5 Mil, Heigl's 'Money' No. 2 With $4.1 Mil

10:14 AM PST 01/28/2012 by Pamela McClintock
Open Roads Film
"The Grey"

Sam Worthington-Elizabeth Banks action-thriller "Man on a Ledge" opens No. 5 with $2.5 million; the 2012 domestic box office continues to show strength.

Cementing his relatively new-found status as action star, Liam Neeson starrer The Grey lead the Friday box office with $6.5 million for a projected weekend gross in the $18 million range.

The Grey, directed by Joe Carnahan, is overperforming after scoring generally good reviews. Audiences gave the action-thriller a B- CinemaScore, with males making up 60 percent of the audience.

Tom Ortenberg's Open Road Films is handling The Grey, about a group of men stranded in the Alaskan wilderness after a plane crash (the cast also includes Frank Grillo and Dermot Mulroney). The $25 million pic was produced by Liddell Entertainment and Scott Free Productions.

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Fueled by older women, Katherine Heigl starrer One for the Money opened No. 2 on Friday with a better than expected $4.1 million. If business holds, the Lionsgate and Lakeshore Entertainment pic should gross $11 million to $12 million for the weekend.

One for the Money--based on the popular Stephanie Plum detective novels by author Janet Evanovich -- likewise received a B- CinemaScore. Females made up 75 percent of the audience, while 80 percent of those going to see the film Friday were over the age of 25 (including 30 percent over the age of 50).

Lionsgate and Lakeshore are partners on the $42 million film, with much of the budget covered through foreign presales.

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Lionsgate raised eyebrows among some of its rivals when pacting with Groupon to offer discounted tickets for One for the Money. Roughly 20 million Groupon members were offered the chance to buy one ticket for $6, and $12 for two tickets.

The weekend's third new film, action-thriller Man on a Ledge, starring Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks, couldn't boast the same good news. The Summit Entertainment pic grossed $2.5 million on Friday for a projected $7.5 million weekend.

Man on a Ledge came in No. 5 behind holdovers Underworld: Awakening ($3.4 million) and Red Tails ($2.8 million). However, the pic scored the best CinemaScore of the three new films, a B+. 

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradin produced Man on a Ledge, about a hard-living police negotiator (Banks) who tries to talk down an ex-cop and fugitive (Worthington) who is standing on the ledge of a New York high-rise. 

One twist -- Lionsgate and Summit dated Man on a Ledge and One for the Money long before Lionsgate bought Summit (the marriage was consummated earlier this month). Normally, one company wouldn't date two films on the same weekend.

Summit also offered discounted tickets for Man on a Ledge via Living Social.

Projections show box office revenues up 10 percent over the same weekend last year.

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