Sony’s ‘Social Network’ Top Movie With $22.4 Million

Actor Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg stars in "The Social Network." Photographer: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

“The Social Network,” a movie chronicling the rise of Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg, opened at No. 1 in U.S. and Canadian theaters, logging $22.4 million in ticket sales for Sony Corp.

Time Warner Inc.’s “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” remained in second place with $10.9 million, box- officer tracker Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

In bringing Facebook to the big screen, Sony had the challenge of dramatizing events centered around online activities. Director David Fincher, whose credits include “Zodiac” and “Fight Club,” focused on Zuckerberg’s ethical choices and relationships. The marketing included ads touting the fictionalized founder as: “Punk, genius, billionaire.”

“It’s a topical drama. It tends to appeal to adults, and when you have that type of movie, they tend not to have the biggest opening,” Brandon Gray, president of Sherman Oaks, California-based Box Office Mojo, said in an interview.

The movie missed the $26 million estimate of Gitesh Pandya, editor of Box Office Guru.

“The Social Network” follows the origin of Facebook from its controversial founding, embellishing the known record with made-up episodes. Jesse Eisenberg, whose previous roles include “Adventureland” and “Zombieland,” plays Zuckerberg and Justin Timberlake appears as venture capitalist Sean Parker.

‘Wall Street’

“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” which finished second, is a 3-D animated movie which features the voices of Jim Sturgess and Helen Mirren. The movie has generated $30.1 million in two weeks.

Falling to third place from first last week was “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” with $10 million. The Oliver Stone- directed sequel to 1987’s “Wall Street” has brought in $35.8 million for News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox in two weeks.

Michael Douglas reprises his Oscar-winning role as financier Gordon Gekko, who has completed a lengthy prison term. The movie co-stars Shia LaBeouf, who plays a young trader in a tale set amid the 2008 economic meltdown. Ticket sales for “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” fell 47 percent from the prior week.

“The Town,” dropped to fourth from third with $9.7 million for Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. Ben Affleck stars and directs the bank robbery thriller, which also features Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Jeremy Renner. Receipts total $64.1 million after three weeks.

‘Case 39’

“Easy A,” Sony’s teen comedy, finished fifth. The movie, starring Emma Stone as a high school student who fights back after she is ostracized over rumors of her promiscuity, earned $6.7 million.

Two horror making their debut this week, “Case 39” from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures and Overture Films’ “Let Me In” failed to crack the top five. “Case 39” had $5.4 million for seventh place and “Let Me In” earned $5.1 million in eighth.

Weekend sales for the top 12 films fell 6.3 percent to $86.2 million from $92 million a year earlier, said. Year-to-date receipts total $8.19 billion, up 3.7 percent from $7.90 billion. Attendance has fallen 1.8 percent this year.

The following table has figures provided by studios to Los Angeles-based Box-Office. The amounts are based on actual ticket sales for Oct. 1-3.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
1 THE SOCIAL NETWORK  22.4    2,771    8,100     --     22.4   1
2 LEGEND OF GUARDIANS 10.9    3,575    3,045    -32     30.1   2
3 WALL STREET         10.0    3,597    2,781    -47     35.8   2
4 THE TOWN             9.7    2,935    3,322    -38     64.1   3
5 EASY A               6.7    2,974    2,269    -36     42.2   3
6 YOU AGAIN            5.7    2,548    2,246    -32     16.6   2
7 CASE 39              5.4    2,211    2,420     --      5.4   1
8 LET ME IN            5.1    2,021    2,547     --      5.1   1
9 DEVIL                3.6    2,392    1,490    -46     27.3   3
10 ALPHA AND OMEGA     2.9    2,303    1,270    -38     18.9   3
11 RESIDENT EVIL       2.8    1,907    1,460    -44     56.6   4
12 INCEPTION           0.9      625    1,447    -27    288.4  12

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $86.2 $92.0 -6.3 Year-to-date Revenue 2010 2009 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $8,191 $7,898 +3.7 Year-to-date Attendance: -1.8%
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