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March 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The latest entries in the box office competition may have performed better than most analysts had predicted but their performances did not halt the almost uninterrupted weekly decline in ticket sales since December. The only “up” week was the Presidents Day weekend last month — and only because the holiday did not occur on the same weekend this year that it did in 2010. Total revenue was down nearly 10 percent from last year when the box office was led by the third week of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. This year a film is lucky even to remain on the top ten list for more three weeks. Another bad sign: final results have been turning out to be somewhat lower than estimated by studio officials on Sunday. Since estimates are based on actual revenue for Friday and Saturday and an educated guess for Sunday, the lower final totals suggest that word-of-mouth has generally not been positive.

Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish in Limitless

This weekend’s box office was topped by Relativity Media’s Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper, which took in $18.9 million. Two other new releases performed respectably. Lionsgate’s The Lincoln Lawyer with Matthew McConaughey took in $13.2 million (helped by a $6 ticket promotion through discount site Groupon), while Universal’s alien comedy Paul touched down with $13 million. But both Lincoln and Paul were outdone by the third week of the animated Rango, which collected $15.1 million and placed second on the box-office list, and the second week of Battle: Los Angeles, which, after dropping 60 percent, hit $14.5 million to place third.

The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):

1. Limitless, Relativity Media, $18,907,302, (New); 2. Rango, Paramount, $15,076,575, 3 Wks. ($92,338,691); 3. Battle: Los Angeles, Sony, $14,538,429, 2 Wks. ($60,540,135); 4. The Lincoln Lawyer, Lionsgate, $13,206,453, (New); 5. Paul, Universal, $13,043,310, (New); 6. Red Riding Hood, Warner Bros., $7,188,131, 2 Wks. ($25,895,514); 7. The Adjustment Bureau, Universal, $5,772,510, 3 Wks. ($48,619,550); 8. Mars Needs Moms, Disney, $5,316,620, 2 Wks. ($15,400,434); 9. Beastly, CBS Films, $3,198,478, 3 Wks. ($22,183,943); 10. Hall Pass, Warner Bros., $2,568,334, 4 Wks. ($39,557,940).