Despite decent starts for Limitless, Paul and The Lincoln Lawyer, overall weekend business was off nine percent from the same period last year, when Alice in Wonderland, The Bounty Hunter and Diary of a Wimpy Kid led, and attendance was on the low end for the third weekend of March.
Limitless packed an estimated $19 million on approximately 3,200 screens at 2,756 locations. That trailed the opening weekends of recent thrillers Unknown ($21.9 million) and The Adjustment Bureau ($21.2 million). Among other comparable titles, it was close to Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ($19 million) but was behind 21 ($24.1 million) and The Social Network ($22.4 million) (<b>Limitless</b> copied the latter with its heavy usage of Kanye West's "Power"). Not too shabby for Bradley Cooper's first real star vehicle, though the movie was heavily-promoted, including three spots on Super Bowl Sunday (though Box Office Mojo readers voted it the worst Super Bowl ad). The marketing played on Cooper's partying jerk persona from The Hangover and other movies. According to exit polling from distributor Relativity Media, which heralded its first respectable launch, Limitless's audience was 52 percent female and 60 percent was aged 25 years and older.
The Lincoln Lawyer drew an estimated $13.4 million on around 3,000 screens at 2,707 locations, which was star Matthew McConaughey's top-grossing start in a non-comedy-or-action movie since his breakout in A Time to Kill. That's not saying much as Lincoln Lawyer was pretty average otherwise, faring a bit better than the nationwide debuts of Michael Clayton and Fracture, but it gets extra points considering the paucity of legal thrillers in recent years and how its television spots made it look nearly indistinguishable from similar T.V. fare. Those ads were incoherent and murky, largely failing to explain the movie's basic premise to the uninitiated. Distributor Lionsgate's research indicated that 63 percent of the audience was female and 85 percent was aged 25 years and older.
Paul landed with an estimated $13.2 million on close to 3,100 screens at 2,802 locations, pegging it a tad below average for the generally quiet sci-fi comedy sub-genre. Its opening was worse than Hot Tub Time Machine ($14 million) from last March as well as Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, but it was much better than Meet Dave. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, it came up short of Coneheads. Distributor Universal Pictures' exit polling showed that 56 percent of Paul's audience was male and 58 percent was aged 25 years and older.
Last weekend's top draw, Battle: Los Angeles, took a hit in its second weekend, falling 59 percent to an estimated $14.6 million and advancings its sum to $60.6 million ten days. While it held better than Skyline, The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) and Cloverfield (albeit with a lower gross) at the same point, it lagged further behind District 9 and Black Hawk Down.
Buoyed by Spring Break, movies appealing to kids saw the smallest declines. Rango eased 32 percent to an estimated $15.3 million, lifting its total to $92.6 million in 17 days. Mars Needs Moms was down only 23 percent to an estimated $5.3 million, though its tally was a dreary $15.4 million in ten days. Gnomeo and Juliet dipped 34 percent to an estimated $2.4 million, increasing its sum to $93.7 million in 38 days. Also benefitting on this front was Beastly, which was down 35 percent to an estimated $3.3 million for a $22.2 million total in 17 days.
For the rest of the holdovers, the drops were fairly standard. Red Riding Hood tumbled 48 percent to an estimated $7.3 million, bringing its sum to $26 million in ten days. The Adjustment Bureau slowed 49 percent to an estimated $5.9 million for a $48.8 million tally in 17 days.
Meanwhile, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never squeaked by Michael Jackson's This Is It to become the highest-grossing concert movie on record with $72.2 million.
Tags: Bradley Cooper Hot Limitless Paul Simon Pegg Nick Frost