One of fall’s most anticipated films had an auspicious start, befitting its legacy as “The Facebook Movie.” The Social Network had no trouble placing first with an estimated $23 million. Meanwhile, horror releases Let Me In and Case 39 continued to inspire little fear and even less money after their anemic Friday debuts.
|1||The Social Network||$23,000,000||$23|
|2||Legends of the Guardians||$10,500,000||$29.7|
|3||Wall Street 2||$10,200,000||$35.9|
|7||Let Me In||$5,200,000||$5.2|
|10||Alpha & Omega||$3,000,000||$19|
Making a movie based on the rise of Facebook was not an obvious choice, by Hollywood standards. Five billion dollars or not, a business movie about an unlikable geek who is NOT trying to get laid is not exactly standard fare for most studio executives. But with David Fincher directing and Aaron Sorkin adapting the screenplay from the book “Accidental Billionaires,” many realized early on that The Social Network could be something pretty special. And its nice to be right. Rotten Tomatoes has The Social Network at a heady 97% fresh and there is also talk of Oscars in the network’s future. But back to the box office.
With $23 million from 2,771 locations, The Social Network did significantly more business than last week’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – and that without a Shia in its cast or an ailing icon out on the red carpet. In fact, Wall Street 2 has seen its value dip significantly since its debut last weekend. The film fell 47% and is currently third for the weekend behind Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. It may have been billed as Oliver Stone’s “biggest debut” one week back, but it now seems unlikely that Wall Street 2 will surpass the director’s World Trade Center total of $70 million.
The fact that Legend of the Guardians remained in second place after its less than robust debut last weekend is significant. The PG fantasy fell just 35% for a second weekend estimate of $10.5 million. See that? Despite recent trends, fall audiences can not live on adult fare alone. With a reported budget of $80 million, Legends is far from a domestic money-maker at this point; but at least its wings carried it farther than we first suspected they could.
Back in “Rated R” territory; Ben Affleck’s The Town saw another impressive hold in its third weekend in theatres. After dropping just 34.5% last weekend, the crime drama fell off by an estimated 37% this weekend. That gives The Town enough juice to remain in the top five and a new domestic total of $64.1 million. That’s not as much as The Departed, certainly; but it is still more than most predicted for Affleck’s second time behind the camera.
Shut out of the top five on Friday – what should have been a ‘horror’ movie’s biggest day – Let Me In continued to fumble badly on its debut weekend. Despite some pretty impressive reviews, Matt Reeves’ English-language adaptation of Sweden’s Let the Right One In failed to break $6 million from its 2,020 locations. I’m not sure we can say that the week’s other genre pic, Paramount’s Case 39, siphoned the film’s audience either. I mean, did you see any TV spots for Case 39 in the last week? Collecting dust for nearly three years, the film actually managed to do nearly as well as the much discussed Let Me In. I am not sure what to say about that. I guess Swedish vampires, much like Swedish pop groups, are an acquired taste.
Next week the general-audience Secretariat opens against the “and baby makes three” dramedy Life As We Know It. I’ll take the cheesy sports movie to win and the maudlin Katherine Heigl vehicle to show. Oh who am I kidding? They both look cheesy AND maudlin… but, hey, everyone loves horsies. Katherine Heigl not so much.