Box Office Roundup: March 18-20, Laudable 'Limitless' Lands #1

Sunday, 20 March 2011 18:50 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Box Office Roundup: March 18-20, Laudable 'Limitless' Lands #1

Are you Bradley Cooper?  If so, then congratulations, your first time out as a full-on leading man, you exceeded all expectations with an unqualified success.  Relativity Media's Limitless, starring Cooper and Robert DeNiro, surpassed projections, earning an estimated $19 million dollars over the weekend and claiming the number one spot.  Of the other new releases, The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughy, brought in $13.4 million for fourth place, while Paul, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and the voice of Seth Rogan, nipped at its heels with an estimated $13.2 million.  There's more to this weekend's story, however, and particularly where The Lincoln Lawyer is concerned.

Rango, the first animated film from Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinksi, lost 32% of its audience from last weekend, but stayed strong at number two, pulling in an estimated $15.3 million, bringing its three week cumulative to $92 million.  Still, the film starring Johnny Depp as a confused chameleon has shown some legs, as last weekend's top earner, Battle: Los Angeles was expected to be in at least second place.  The alien invasion actioner lost 60% of its audience and fell to third place, with a ten day total of $60.6 million.

LionsGate, which released The Lincoln Lawyer, partnered with Internet coupon depository Groupon last week, offering tickets discounted to $6 dollars.  A subsequent promotion meant that some tickets were available for but $1.  The studio compensated exhibitors for the revenue gap.  Currently, the word is that roughly 40,000 discounted tickets were redeemed, but given the opacity of the discount process and the narrow margin between The Lincoln Lawyer and Paul, it's entirely possible that the current standings are not wholly reflective of actual earnings.  Not trying to declare shenanigans on LionsGate here, just saying that this could be a mathematically tricky way of inflating their picture's apparent gross. 

Red Riding Hood, which debuted in third place last weekend, lost roughly half its audience for a $7.3 million haul, falling to sixth place behind extraterrestrial stoner comedy Paul.  Also falling by about 50% was The Adjustment Bureau, which pulled in nearly $6 million.  The Matt Damon thriller has accumulated $48.7 million in three weeks of release.

Last week's much discussed financial catastrophe Mars Needs Moms retained more than 75% of its audience with an estimated $5.3 million in eighth place.  Even with such surprising retention, however, its ten day total is $15.4 million, which is not good news for a film budgeted at a reported $150 million.

Beauty and the Beast redux Beastly and Farrelly Bros comedy Hall Pass rounded out the top ten, with $3.2 million and $2.6 million, respectively.  The King's Speech exited the top ten after 17 weeks in release, earning enough for thirteenth place.  The Adam Sandler comedy Just Go With It is estimated to have earned over $2 million, bringing its six week cumulative to $98 million.  Over the next week or two, it will become the latest in a long line of Sandler comedies to cross the $100 million mark.

  1. Limitless                                         $19.0 million          New Release
  2. Rango                                             $15.3 million          $92.6 million
  3. Battle: Los Angeles                         $14.6 million          $60.6 million
  4. The Lincoln Lawyer                         $13.4 million          New Release
  5. Paul                                                 $13.2 million          New Release
  6. Red Riding Hood                             $7.3 million            $25.9 million
  7. The Adjustment Bureau                  $5.9 million            $48.7 million
  8. Mars Needs Moms                           $5.3 million            $15.4 million
  9. Beastly                                            $3.2 million            $22.2 million
  10. Hall Pass                                         $2.6 million            $39.6 million

Two wide releases will hit theaters this upcoming weekend: Zack Snyder's slick action fantasy Sucker Punch and kid-lit adaptation Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.  Do you think Limitless can ride strong word of mouth to a strong showing against the ladies of Sucker Punch?

Source: Box Office Mojo

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