Justin Bieber leads Friday box office with $12.4 million

Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:19pm EST

Canadian singer Justin Bieber arrives for the premiere of the 3D film ''Justin Bieber: Never Say Never '' in New York February 2, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Canadian singer Justin Bieber arrives for the premiere of the 3D film ''Justin Bieber: Never Say Never '' in New York February 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The race is on between Paramount's Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and Sony's Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy Just Go With It.

In an impressive start, Never Say Never opened to an estimated $12.4 million from 3,105 theaters on Friday to beat Just Go With It, which grossed an estimated $9.7 million from 3,548 theaters.

Both movies should crack the $30 million mark for the full weekend. Heading into the frame, most box office observers expected Just Go With It to win the session, but Never Say Never is now a real contender.

Concert films generally drop more than regular movies as the weekend unfolds, and that's the reason why no one is ready to call the contest between Never Say Never, directed by Jon M. Chu, and Just Go With It, directed by Dennis Dugan.

Of those turning out for Bieber's bigscreen debut, 84 percent were females, with 67 percent under the age of 25. Just Go With It played to a distinctly older audience, with 67 percent of those buying tickets over the age of 25. The Sandler-Aniston pairing played heavily to females, or 61 percent.

In 2008, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour opened to $8.7 million on Friday on its way to grossing $31.1 million for the weekend.

Moviegoers liked Never Say Never and Just Go With It, portending good word of mouth. Bieber fans gave Never Say Never an A CinemaScore, while Just Go With It received an A- (females gave the romantic comedy an A).

Disney's animated family film Gnomeo & Juliet opened to an estimated $6.1 million from 2,994 theaters on Friday. The 3D film should pick up Saturday and gross north of $20 million for the weekend.

Focus Features' Channing Tatum Roman epic The Eagle, directed by Kevin Macdonald, opened to an estimated $2.8 million from 2,296 theaters, in line with expectations.

Coming in No. 5 on Friday was Screen Gems holdover The Roommate, which grossed $2.6 million in its second Friday bringing its total ticket sales to $20.3 million.

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