Sony’s ‘Social Network’ Top Film With $15.5 Million

“The Social Network” repeated as the top movie in U.S. and Canadian theaters for a second weekend, taking in $15.5 million in receipts for Sony Corp.

The Katherine Heigl comedy “Life as We Know It” opened in second place with $14.5 million in ticket sales for Warner Bros., Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

The repeat win for “The Social Network” follows critical acclaim for the movie, which chronicles the controversial rise of Facebook Inc. and its co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Sony said it spent less than $40 million making the movie. Domestic ticket sales total $46 million since the Oct. 1 release.

“It shows that the word-of-mouth is very strong on the film and that the movie is reaching out beyond its core audience,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of Box Office Guru.

The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg as he builds the top social-networking website, leaving a trail of lawsuits and broken friendships. The story is told from several perspectives. Justin Timberlake appears as venture capitalist Sean Parker.

In “Life as We Know It,” Heigl co-stars with Josh Duhamel as two young adults who are asked to take custody of their infant goddaughter after the child’s parents are killed. They must set aside their differences as they juggle careers and unexpected parenthood.

‘Secretariat’

“Secretariat,” about the 1973 Triple Crown-winning thoroughbred racehorse, opened in third place with $12.7 million. The movie stars Diane Lane as Penny Chenery, the housewife who took over the stable where the horse was trained. John Malkovich co-stars.

Even though “Secretariat” didn’t win or place at the box office, it’s still a good showing for opening week, Pandya said.

“It’s an adult, female-skewing film so typically that audience doesn’t rush out on the first weekend,” he said.

Time Warner Inc.’s animated “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” was fourth with $6.9 million. The movie has generated $39.3 million in three weeks.

The weekend’s other wide release, the Wes Craven horror film “My Soul to Take,” was fifth with $6.8 million for Relativity Media LLC and distributor Universal Pictures. In the film, a small town is terrorized 16 years after the apparent death of a serial killer.

Sales Drop

Weekend sales for the top 12 films fell 15 percent to $81.3 million from $95.6 million a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Year-to-date receipts total $8.31 billion, up 3.4 percent from $8.04 billion. Attendance has fallen 2.1 percent this year.

The following table has figures provided by studios to Los Angeles-based Hollywood.com Box-Office. The amounts are based on actual ticket sales for Oct. 8-10.

                      Rev.             Avg./   Pct.  Total
Movie                (mln) Theaters  Theater   Chg.   (mln) Wks
================================================================
1 THE SOCIAL NETWORK  15.5    2,771    5,576   -31     46.0    2
2 LIFE AS WE KNOW IT  14.5    3,150    4,605    --     14.5    1
3 SECRETARIAT         12.7    3,072    4,132    --     12.7    1
4 LEGEND OF GUARDIANS  6.9    3,225    2,136   -37     39.3    3
5 MY SOUL TO TAKE      6.8    2,572    2,660    --      6.8    1
6 THE TOWN             6.4    2,720    2,357   -34     73.8    4
7 WALL STREET          4.6    2,829    1,627   -54     43.6    3
8 EASY A               4.3    2,847    1,507   -36     48.2    4
9 CASE 39              2.7    2,212    1,212   -50      9.7    2
10 YOU AGAIN           2.5    2,332    1,078   -56     20.8    3
11 LET ME IN           2.4    2,042    1,199   -52      9.2    2
12 KIND OF FUNNY STORY 2.0      742    2,713    --      2.0    1


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
     $81.3         $95.6      -14.9


Year-to-date Revenue

     2010          2009
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $8,314        $8,038       +3.4


Year-to-date Attendance:     -2.1%



To contact the reporter on this story:
Michael White in Los Angeles at 
mwhite8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Anthony Palazzo at 
apalazzo@bloomberg.net.



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