Our own Dan Carlson predicted it over on Twitter on Friday, writing, “Monday’s box-office hed on every movie news site: “Moviegoers ‘Liked’ The Social Network to the tune of [amount].” He wasn’t wrong. The Social Network was indeed number one at the box-office this weekend, giving headline writers around the web the day off.
Here were the ten most paranomastic headlines I picked up from a quick Google News search:
A couple of notes about the $23 million gross of The Social Network: It was in line with studio expectations, but in no way exceeded them. It also played much, much better on the coasts than it did in flyover country, which I suspect is true of a lot of successful films since there are more regular moviegoers on the coasts. It also fared better with women and adults, though it was the under 18-set that graded it better (an A-). And while The Social Network opened slightly lower than David Fincher’s Benjamin Button, it also had a much smaller price tag ($50 million). So, a win for Sorkin and Fincher, and it could be a much bigger one if the Oscar talk is as loud in three months as it was over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the other major opener this weekend, Let Me In, fell apart at the box office, earning only $5.3 million and coming in a miserable 8th place. The best explanation I can provide for that is that the target audience for Let Me In was probably the very people who thought it was an unnecessary remake. Unnecessary perhaps, but like Dan, I thought it was a decent effort from Matt Reeves, and much less Americanized than many of us had feared. That’s probably why it failed. Kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for Reeves, so he probably shouldn’t have. But, then we’d have missed another solid performance from Chloe Moretz, who is way too young to be considered box-office poison, but after Let Me In, The Diary of the Wimpy Kid, and Kick-Ass, studio pinheads are probably thinking it.
The other new entry, the afterthought Case 39, actually edged out Let Me In, earning $5.35 million. That was the film that had set on a shelf for three years — it had already grossed $14 million worldwide (apparently, it plays well with Hispanics), so the other $5 millions gravy, as the $20 million overall gross brings it closer to its $26 million budget. And that, folks, is how otherwise forgettable films earn a profit.
For the curious, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, held well, dropping only 32 percent and adding another $10 million to come in at number two this weekend. Last weekend’s number one, Wall Street 2 dropped to number three, also putting up another $10 million. I thought that Fredo’s comment in The Social Network review over the weekend was apt: “[The Social Network] feels more like the true heir to Gordon Gecko and Wall Street than the sequel that’s out right now.” I can’t wait for the sequel to The Social Network, in 20 years, when Mark Zuckerberg is in a VH1 reality show with Tom from MySpace and Jonathan Abrams and Cris Emmanuel (who founded Friendster). Talk about riveting reality television.
One final note: In my haste to compose the review for The Social Network, I didn’t have enough time to research what was up with the Winklevosses, identical twins who were — according to iMDB — played by two different people in the film, Armie Hammer and Josh Pence. In case you didn’t read Che Grovera’s comments under the review, the face of the both twins was played by Armie Hammer (his real name), while Josh Pence played the body of one of the twins. Hammer’s face was digitally superimposed over Pence’s. Why not just cast identical twins (it wasn’t as though Hammer was a household name)? I dunno, but the fact that I didn’t realize that one face was CGI’d over someone else’s face speaks to how well it was done, unnecessary or not.