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    One for the Money: Did Katherine Heigl's Movie Get Its Groupon On?

    One for the Money Lionsgate

    Does Groupon save?

    Eh.

    Katherine Heigl's One for the Money, the subject of a heavily promoted ticket discount, settled for a third-place debut at the weekend box office.

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    The critically assailed Heigl movie either met so-so expecatations or outdid them with an estimated $11.8 million Friday-Sunday gross. 

    Tickets for the crime comedy were offered via Groupon for $6 a pop, a 60 percent discount in some cities.

    In the end, One for the Money managed a per-screen average that was stronger than all the movies in the Top 10, save Liam Neeson's chart-topping The Grey.

    Lionsgate exec David Spitz rejected the notion that the grosses for his studio's film were inflated. Only 11 percent of the surveyed opening-weekend audience, many of them infrequent moviegoers, he said, snapped up the Groupon deal.

    "These are people who wouldn't have gone to see the film," Spitz said today.  

    This is the second time Lionsgate has gone the Groupon route. The first was for Matthew McConaughey's  The Lincoln Lawyer, which posted a fourth-place, $13.2 million debut last March.

    It's doubtful One for the Money's performance will raise Heigl's under-attack box-office stock. The movie is her lowest-grossing wide-release since before she became a breakout star in Knocked Up.

    Elsewhere, Sam Worthington's Man on a Ledge, which had no net, and no Groupon offer (but, yes, a similar, two-tickets-for-$12 deal through another online coupon service), went splat, opening in fifth place with $8.3 million. 

    The Grey, meanwhile, was another of Neeson's now-nearly annual winter action hits, with its $20 million opening in the neighborhood of Unknown's and Taken's. 

    The Oscar bounce didn't exist for any of the top nominees, outside of George Clooney's The Descendants, which bulked up on more than 2,000 screens, and returned to the Top 10.

    Non-Best Picture nominee The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo fell from the rankings after a five-week stay. Its domestic total is currently just shy of $100 million.   

    Here's the rundown of the weekend's top movies, as compiled from the studios' Friday-Sunday domestic estimates and BoxOffice.com stats:

    1. The Grey, $20 million
    2. Underworld Awakening, $12.5 million
    3. One for the Money, $11.8 million
    4. Red Tails, $10.4 million
    5. Man on a Ledge, $8.3 million
    6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, $7.1 million
    7. The Descendants, $6.6 million
    8. Contraband, $6.5 million
    9. Beauty and the Beast 3D, $5.3 million
    10. Haywire, $4 million
    (Originally published at 9:16 a.m. PT on Jan. 29, 2012.)

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