The Social Network led easily, while Case 39 and Let Me In were dead on arrival.

Solid Start for 'The Social Network'

on October 04, 2010 by Daniel Garris

As was widely expected, Sony's The Social Network dominated this weekend's box office. The critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film opened on the lower end of expectations with $22.45 million. With a smaller location count than the rest of the films currently in the top five, The Social Network easily earned the weekend's top location average among wide releases with a mark of $8,100. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, The Social Network generated the third largest debut of Fincher's career (behind 2002's Panic Room and 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

The opening weekend performance of The Social Network was 6 percent weaker than the recent $23.81 million opening of The Town, but 18 percent stronger than last week's $19.01 million start of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. With a friday gross of $8.00 million, The Social Network registered an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.81 to 1. The film was a bit more front-loaded than The Town was on its first weekend (2.85) and a bit less front-loaded than Wall Street 2 was last weekend (2.75).

The Social Network continues Sony's impressive winning streak at the box office, which began back in June with The Karate Kid. The studio's streak has also included previous fall releases Resident Evil: Afterlife and Easy A (which held up well again this weekend with a fifth place take of $6.75 million). Current domestic totals stand at $56.62 million for Resident Evil: Afterlife and at $42.18 million for Easy A.

This weekend's other two wide releases didn't fare anywhere near as well, as Paramount Vantage's Case 39 and Relativity's Let Me In had to settle for seventh and eighth place respectively. The two films opened with nearly identical grosses, with the $5.35 million gross of Case 39 outpacing the $5.15 million gross of Let Me In by $203,091. While neither film had a good start, the debut of Let Me In was the more disappointing of the two as it carried the greater expectations heading into the weekend. By opening against one another both films clearly limited whatever opening weekend potential they did have. A very similar situation occurred in September of last year when Sorority Row and Whiteout opened during the same weekend.

After a disappointing start last weekend, Warner's Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole was able to stabilize this weekend. The 3D computer animated film grossed $10.89 million, which was down 32 percent from last weekend and kept the film in second place. There is no question that the film was helped out in a big way from facing no new direct competition for either family audiences or 3D screens, but the film's word of mouth also appears to be very solid. Whether or not the film can keep it up next weekend will depend largely on how well Disney's Secretariat performs with family audiences. With a ten-day start of $30.08 million, Legend of the Guardians is currently running 9 percent behind the pace of 2005's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Internationally, Legend of the Guardians grossed $9.6 million from 21 foreign markets. That brings the film's international total to $11.2 million. Key first weekend grosses included $3.2 million in Russia and $1.7 million in Australia.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps didn't hold up nearly as well in its second weekend of release. After displaying solid midweek holding power, the sequel from Fox slid two spots and 47 percent from last weekend's first place debut. The film finished in third with $10.00 million, which outpaced the third-weekend gross of Warner's The Town by just $253,246 for the frame. With a ten-day start of $35.78 million, the film is running a bit below pre-release expectations. There's no question at this point that Wall Street 2 has taken a hit from opening in between The Town and The Social Network.

On the international front, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps grossed $10.1 million from 55 markets. Key grosses included debuts of $2.1 million in France and $0.8 million in Russia and a second weekend performance of $1.1 million in Australia. The international total for Wall Street 2 stands at $22.3 million.

The Town continued to hold up very nicely as the Warner Bros. release was down one spot and 38 percent. The surprise hit starring and directed by Ben Affleck grossed $9.75 million to place in fourth. The Town has grossed an impressive $64.06 million through 17 days of release, placing it 17 percent behind the pace of 2006's The Departed.

Internationally, The Town hasn't opened in that many markets yet, but it has opened in some of the more notable ones (including France, Germany and the United Kingdom). The film is holding up very well overseas (weekend declines in the three mentioned markets fell in the range of 10 to 26 percent) and has grossed $13.1 million to date.

Tags: Resident Evil: Afterlife, Easy A, Let Me In, Case 39, The Town, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, The Social Network

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