Adults boost Affleck pic while younger auds take notice too

It’s the time of year when filmgoers over 35 welcome the return of thought-provoking adult fare to theaters. “Argo” is giving older auds a reason to get out of the house and looks to be settling in for a lengthy run in theaters and on the awards circuit.

In its soph sesh, with a remarkable 15% drop and a three-day gross of $16.6 million, “Argo” had the best hold of all time for a non-holiday live-action film. WB distribution exec Jeffrey Goldstein is rather bullish on its prospects through the end of the year and even into the beginning of next.

“I see that $90 million’s in the cards, and $100 million’s a possibility,” Goldstein predicted for the pic’s Stateside lifetime take. “Argo” has cumed $43.2 million so far and maintained its second place standing this weekend as prior champ “Taken 2″ slipped from first to fourth.

Moreover, “Argo’s” audience is expanding. When it opened, interest came mostly from an adult crowd, with 74% of filmgoers over 35, most of them north of 50. This weekend, though the studio didn’t track specific demo statistics for its soph run, a spike in late Saturday night sales suggests word of mouth is spreading to a considerably younger set.

Meanwhile, midweek figures, which are often high with adult-skewing titles, are exceeding studio expectation, according to Goldstein.

The Iran hostage drama drew a notable 95% on RottenTomatoes.com from both critics and the public.

WB is already considering the film a good candidate for a post-holiday re-release, pending awards attention, to cater to Acad voters. “That presumes we ever come off the screens,” Goldstein added.

And with “The Great Gatsby” pushed to summer 2013, the studio has nothing else on its plate to draw eyes, and votes, from Ben Affleck’s smart thriller.

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