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Dueling demographics at the box office

'Red' targets older auds while 'Jackass' appeals to youth

Summit’s spy pic “Red” will look to thrill primarily adult males at 3,255 locations this weekend, while Paramount’s “Jackass 3D,” which opens at 3,081, including 2,452 3D-equipped screens, should play mostly to younger males. The upcharge for 3D tickets could help “Jackass 3D” take the lead despite its more restrictive R rating.

Both pics could be a tonic for a recent slow period at the domestic B.O., according to pre-weekend tracking, with PG-13 rated “Red” potentially broadening to younger moviegoers. Last weekend, a trio of wide releases weren’t able to unseat Sony’s holdover “The Social Network,” which has cumed north of $50 million as it enters its third frame. Warner Bros. romantic comedy “Life as We Know It” came in at $14.5 million, and Disney’s family drama “Secretariat” lagged with $12.7 million during opening weekend.

Meanwhile, Universal fell victim to a crowded horror front as Wes Craven’s “My Soul to Take,” from Rogue Pictures and Relativity Media, debuting with $6.9 million. “Soul” could fall further this weekend, as horror pics typically see sizeable drops in their second outing.

On the specialty front, Freestyle Releasing launches docu “I Want Your Money,” a conservative view of the economic crisis, at 537 locations, primarily in smaller markets in the South and the Midwest.

Two higher-profile pics also enter the market in limited release: Fox Searchlight’s “Conviction” at 11 locations and Clint Eastwood’s drama “Hereafter,” with Warners opening the pic at six locations in New York, Toronto and L.A. Warner hopes to build word of mouth for “Hereafter” before expanding the pic wide next weekend.

This weekend’s wide releases will wait to launch overseas, meaning summer holdovers like Sony’s “Eat Pray Love” and Universal’s “Despicable Me” should continue to play well during foreign school holidays. “Eat Pray Love” has tallied $79.9 million internationally; “Despicable Me,” a hearty $136.9 million. Latter is expanding to Italy and the U.K. this weekend.

With a cast that appeals to primarily older auds, Summit was faced with a tough marketing challenge on comicbook adaptation “Red.” The film toplines Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich as retired assassins.

Richie Fay, Summit’s prexy of domestic distribution, said the studio has marketed the film to its target demo, while keeping promo material fun to attract younger auds. Fay defended the film’s core adult demo: “Retired doesn’t necessarily mean retired anymore,” he said.

Summit booked TV spots during football and baseball playoff games, as well as a tie-in with ESPN.

Paramount’s “Jackass” offering should see a boost from the 3D format, especially with younger auds.

The series’ previous two installments opened during comparable fall periods, with the first “Jackass” launching to $22.8 million for a domestic cume of $64.3 million. The sequel outstripped the original, posting $29 million during its opening frame and grossing $72.8 million. Par said it expects its most recent offering to reach similar numbers.

Among the frame’s top holdovers, Warner’s 3D toon “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” should continue to hold well, as parents opt for more kid-friendly fare. Last weekend, the toon dropped just 37% in its third frame, with domestic totals at $41.3 million as of Wednesday.

Adult titles such as “The Town” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” which have held solid in repeat frames, could lose auds with “Red” entering the market. Warner’s “The Town” has cumed a resilient $76 million, while Stateside revenues for 20th Century Fox’s “Wall Street” sequel stand at $45.1 million.

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