Movie fans catch Bieber fever at box offices
By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fans of teenage pop star Justin Bieber turned out in strong numbers during the weekend for his movie "Never Say Never," putting it in a tight race for No. 1 at box offices with Adam Sandler comedy "Just Go With It."
Film studio estimates released on Sunday had Sandler's romantic comedy, which co-stars Jennifer Aniston, taking in $31 million to claim the top spot on ticket charts. The Bieber film was close behind at $30.3 million for the three-day weekend.
But counting ticket sales for special screenings of "Just Bieber: Never Say Never" held late last week ahead of Friday's U.S. and Canadian opening, the movie's ticket sales hit just over $31 million, according to distributor Paramount Pictures.
Monday's final tally will decide the winner of the weekly box-office competition but Paramount was basking in a better-than-expected opening for the movie, which mixes 3D concert footage and more personal video of the 16-year-old singer to paint a picture of his rise to superstardom.
Don Harris, executive vice president of distribution for Paramount, said Bieber's legions of mostly young female fans turned out, as expected. But many positive reviews for "Never Say Never" and good exit polling of moviegoers had the studio believing the movie might expand to wider audiences.
"We think the movie will hang around (theaters) for awhile," Harris said.
The Bieber movie debuted in just over 3,100 locations for a per-theater average of $9,700. The Sandler movie opened in just over 3,500 venues for an average around $8,700 per theater.
MONDAY'S FINAL TALLY Continued...