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The Lincoln Lawyer Movie Box Office: Matthew McConaughey Thriller Flops Despite Good Reviews

The Lincoln Lawyer movie Matthew McConaugheyThe Lincoln Lawyer movie with Matthew McConaughey: Domestic box office dud notwithstanding solid reviews.
  • The Lincoln Lawyer movie box office: Starring Matthew McConaughey, Brad Furman’s well-regarded legal thriller had a dispiriting debut in the domestic market. Ryan Phillippe and Marisa Tomei costar.
  • In other domestic box office news, Greg Mottola’s Anglo-American comedy sci-fier/road movie Paul opened with even weaker numbers. On the positive side, Paul has been performing well in the United Kingdom. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star.

The Lincoln Lawyer movie box office: Matthew McConaughey thriller has mediocre domestic debut in spite of generally positive reviews

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

March 18–20 weekend box office (cont.): Trailing Relativity Media’s Neil Burger-Bradley Cooper thriller Limitless, and holdovers Rango and Battle Los Angeles (more details further below) were Lionsgate’s Brad Furman-directed legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey, and Universal Pictures’ Greg Mottola-directed comic sci-fier/road movie Paul, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and a motion-captured Seth Rogen as the titular extra-terrestrial.

At no. 4 on the domestic chart, The Lincoln Lawyer debuted with an unimpressive $13.2 million from 2,707 locations according to final studio figures found at Despite its many positive notices, The Lincoln Lawyer will face an uphill road to as much as match domestically its $40 million production budget (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).

Besides Matthew McConaughey as a Los Angeles-based attorney whose “office” is his Lincoln Town Car, The Lincoln Lawyer features Oscar winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, 1992) as a local D.A. and the attorney’s ex-wife, Ryan Phillippe as a wealthy Beverly Hills playboy and potential psychopathic murderer, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, and Oscar nominee William H. Macy (Fargo, 1996).

Global disappointment

Update: The Matthew McConaughey-Ryan Phillippe legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer ultimately collected a somewhat better than expected $58 million domestically and a mediocre $28.7 million internationally. Worldwide total: $86.7 million – or not enough to recover its total cost at the box office.

Its top international markets were Australia ($5.2 million) and the United Kingdom/Ireland ($3.5 million).

Paul movie Simon Pegg Nick Frost Seth RogenPaul movie with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and what seems to be a motion-captured Seth Rogen: The Anglo-American coproduction is an undeniable box office dud in the domestic (U.S. and Canada) market, but it’s a solid performer in its other domestic territory, the United Kingdom.

Anglo-American alien road movie Paul flops domestically

Faring even worse than The Lincoln Lawyer at no. 5, the less enthusiastically received Paul debuted with $13 million from 2,802 venues.

An Anglo-American production about two sci-fi nerds (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) who befriend a stranded alien (Seth Rogen), Paul also features Jason Bateman, Blythe Danner, Jane Lynch, John Carroll Lynch, Jeffrey Tambor, three-time Oscar nominee Sigourney Weaver (Aliens, 1986; etc.), and the voice of two-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, 1993; Saving Private Ryan, 1998).

Like The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul was also reportedly budgeted at $40 million. (Limitless’ Relativity Media was one of Paul’s producing companies). Chances of it as much as matching its budget in the U.S./Canada are all but nil, but Paul has performed far better in its other “domestic market,” the United Kingdom, where to date it has pulled in more than $21 million.

Mid-level international performer

Update: Greg Mottola’s Paul ultimately collected a weak $37.4 million domestically and an okay $60.6 million internationally. Worldwide total: $98 million, which is quite a bit more than The Lincoln Lawyer but not enough for it to break even.

Paul’s top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland (which, as explained above, also happens to be its other “domestic” market, with $23.3 million), Australia ($7 million), France ($6.2 million), and Germany ($6 million).

Rango & Battle Los Angeles box office figures

Sandwiched between Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer on the domestic box office chart:

  • At no. 2, Gore Verbinski’s computer-animated comedy Western Rango grossed $15.1 million (down 33 percent on its third weekend). Cume: $92.3 million. Voice cast: Johnny Depp and Isla Fischer.
  • At no. 3, Jonathan Liebesman’s alien invasion actioner Battle Los Angeles grossed $14.5 million (down an alarming 59 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $60.5 million. Cast: Aaron Eckhart and Ramón Rodríguez.

Lastly, according to, so far this year the North American box office is down 20 percent and attendance is down 21 percent compared to 2010, which, admittedly boasted two monster blockbusters in its first three months: James Cameron’s sci-fi/fantasy adventure Avatar, starring Sam Worthington, and Tim Burton’s fantasy adventure Alice in Wonderland, starring Mia Wasikowska and Rango’s Johnny Depp.

The Lincoln Lawyer Movie Box Office” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “The Lincoln Lawyer Movie Box Office: Matthew McConaughey Thriller Flops Despite Good Reviews” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety,, etc.).

Comments about The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).

Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Matthew McConaughey The Lincoln Lawyer movie image: Lionsgate.

Seth Rogen (motion capture), Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg Paul movie image: Universal Pictures.

The Lincoln Lawyer Movie Box Office: Matthew McConaughey Thriller Flops Despite Good Reviews” last updated in December 2022.

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1 comment

Nathan Donarum -

I’m glad to see Rango still going strong. Given its more adult-oriented tone, its quirkiness and its lack of 3D, it could have completely backfired. Fortunately for everyone, especially audiences, that hasn’t happened. I hope that Rango’s success will prove to studios that they don’t need to play it safe with crap like 3D. I really do hope.


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