Films draw adults as teens hit the prom

For once, the weekend’s domestic box office wasn’t fueled by teens and young adults.

Instead, the weekend’s top B.O. performers, including Paramount’s holdover “Iron Man 2″ and Universal’s wide entry “Robin Hood,” saw a healthy boost from older crowds, while younger auds were busy elsewhere.

Summit’s romancer “Letters to Juliet,” with a debut of $13.5 million, drew 37% of its aud from those 24 and under, compared to 63% over 25. Pic stars Amanda Seyfried, a favorite of young femmes, as well as Aussie heartthrob Christopher Egan. But Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Seyfried’s grandmother, drew plenty of older women.

Insiders attributed the frame’s strength to a number of pics that appealed to older moviegoers, as well as diminished numbers from 16- to 18-year-olds tied up at high school proms.

Neither “Iron Man 2″ nor “Robin Hood” was expected to be as strong among teens; demos for both films were decidedly older. “Robin Hood” turned in $36.1 million domestically in its opening weekend, with 63% coming from auds over 30, while “Iron Man 2″ earned $52 million in its soph sesh, with 60% over 25. Many younger filmgoers turned out for the comicbook sequel opening weekend.

Fox Searchlight opener “Just Wright” took a significant 71% of its total $8.3 million from auds over 25. Fox prexy of domestic distribution Bruce Snyder said “Just Wright” was expected to track older, especially given star Queen Latifah’s popularity with that demo. Despite kid-friendly ratings, Snyder noted most of the weekend’s product was geared toward mature auds.

Summit head of marketing Nancy Kirkpatrick described the studio’s dual-focus campaign for “Letters to Juliet,” which was meant to highlight both stars Seyfried and Redgrave. Studio also sneaked “Letters” last weekend.

“Sneaks tend to turn out an older audience, and we used them to start word of mouth,” Kirkpatrick said. “Typically, older audiences aren’t first-weekend moviegoers.”

The campaign proved successful while the pic still lured a higher percentage of teen females than other films.

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