By Paul Bond
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Don't expect long lines to see "The Lincoln Lawyer" -- a big portion of the audience for the Lionsgate film has already purchased their tickets online and got a hefty discount for doing so.
Lionsgate began selling tickets for $6, roughly a 50% discount in many areas, on Wednesday through social-shopping site Groupon, and insiders say it has been a hot offer.
Groupon hasn't disclosed how many tickets it sold nationwide, but its website tracks the number city-by-city. In Los Angeles, 9,710 tickets had been bought, with eight hours and 29 minutes remaining before the deal expires at midnight Thursday.
Groupon is using movie website Fandango to facilitate the transactions, and on Thursday, 31% of all movie tickets sold were to "Lincoln Lawyer," far ahead of second-place "Rango" at just 12%.
It should be a horse race for the top spot at the box office this weekend, so if "Lincoln Lawyer" can crack the Top 2 ahead of either of the other newcomers - "Limitless" and "Paul" - the Groupon initiative might get the credit.
Unclear, though, is how the $6 tickets will be accounted for in determining box office revenue. Groupon and Lionsgate did not comment for this report.
Lionsgate intends to profit from a marketing standpoint from the discounted tickets, though the $6 admission fees are probably too small for the studio to share in after theaters, Groupon and Fandango take their cuts.
Groupon, though, has said it intends on delving deeper into the sale of media products, though it hasn't disclosed upcoming initiatives.
LivingSocial, a competitor, this month was selling a pair of Fandango tickets to any movie for $9, representing up to a 70% discount, and reportedly more than 600,000 of its users took advantage of the deal.
For a short while, it also sold tickets to "Little Fockers" for $5 apiece, though it was limited to two per person. LivingSocial said 100,000 tickets were sold in 12 hours.
(Editing by Zorianna Kit)