Lionsgate raises pic awareness on site

Lionsgate’s Katherine Heigl starrer “One for the Money” exceeded expectations over the Jan. 27-29 weekend, with a bow of $11.5 million domestically. But more noteworthy is that Lionsgate chose once again to utilize a growing trend of online ticketing promotions.

For “Money,” Lionsgate partnered for the second time with social-buying site Groupon. The distrib previously offered discounted tickets via Groupon for last year’s “The Lincoln Lawyer,” which ended up grossing a solid $58 million Stateside.

Neither offering was aimed at goosing box office, but rather was intended to act as a way of increasing word of mouth. (Social-buying site Livingsocial offered a similar date package for Summit’s “Man on a Ledge.”)

According to Lionsgate, 32% of “Money’s” entire audience polled on opening night was aware of the Groupon deal, but only 11% of auds bought tickets using the promotion.

More telling, however, is that 93% of the film’s Groupon patrons saw “Money” because of the discounted rate. That means just 7% of Groupon auds already intended to see the film, Groupon notwithstanding.

While sites like Groupon and Livingsocial mainly focus on opening weekends, studios look to the promotions as a way to build buzz through subsequent frames as well. So far, both “Money” and “Man” have done OK-to-solid midweek business. And with positive audience reactions, the holdover pair could settle nicely in the market.

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