Friday Report: 'Limitless' No Pill in Debut

by Brandon Gray

March 19, 2011

On Friday, Limitless delivered a decisive victory, while the rest of the Top Five was bunched up in the $4 million range. Despite the okay starts for Limitless, Paul and The Lincoln Lawyer, overall business was off from the same Friday last year, when Alice in Wonderland, The Bounty Hunter and Diary of a Wimpy Kid led.

Limitless packed an estimated $6.6 million on approximately 3,200 screens at 2,756 locations. That was only a touch lower than the $6.7 million debuts of Unknown and The Adjustment Bureau. Among other comparable titles, it was slightly behind Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ($6.9 million) and trailed 21 ($8.7 million) and The Social Network ($8.0 million) (the latter being a comp primarily due to the shared 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.

Paul landed with an estimated $4.4 million on close to 3,100 screens at 2,802 locations, pegging it within the average range of the generally quiet sci-fi comedy sub-genre. Its opening was worse than Hot Tub Time Machine ($4.8 million) from last March as well as Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, but it was much better than Meet Dave.

The Lincoln Lawyer drew an estimated $4.1 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 otherwise slightly below average for its genre and was essentially on par with the nationwide debuts of Michael Clayton and Fracture.

Battle: Los Angeles took a hit in its second Friday, falling 66 percent to an estimated $4.5 million. 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 22 percent to an estimated $4.2 million, lifting its total to $81.5 million in 15 days. Mars Needs Moms was down only 13 percent to an estimated $1.5 million, though its tally was a mere $11.6 million in eight days. Gnomeo and Juliet dipped 20 percent to an estimated $654,000, increasing its sum to $91.9 million in 36 days. Also benefitting on this front was Beastly, which was down 34 percent to an estimated $1.1 million for a $20.1 million total in 15 days.

For the rest of the holdovers, the drops were fairly standard. Red Riding Hood tumbled 51 percent to an estimated $2.4 million, bringing its sum to $21.2 million in eight days. The Adjustment Bureau slowed 47 percent to an estimated $1.8 million for a $44.6 million tally in 15 days.

Given the amount it led by on Friday, Limitless is likely to remain in first for the weekend. Holdovers Rango and Battle: Los Angeles are likely to pull out second and third place finishes.

Related Chart:
Grosses for Friday, Mar. 18, 2011

Comps for:
'The Lincoln Lawyer'

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