'Social Network' Rules Box Office, Earns $23M Opening Weekend 1The Social Network, the intriguing drama behind the meteoric rise of Facebook and its enigmatic founder, Mark Zuckerberg, topped the box office for the weekend ended Oct. 3, 2010, grossing an impressive $23 million in North America.

Now with Oscar buzz building thanks to its clever, razor-sharp dialogue (courtesy of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin) and entertaining direction (by David Fincher), there’s little doubt the witty and dramatic film will clear the $100 million mark in no time — especially once it gets released worldwide.

And with rave critical reviews, execs at distributor Sony Pictures couldn’t be happier. “It really is a great start for us,” says Rory Bruer, Sony’s head of distribution. “This is a movie that is resonating everywhere.

“The reviews are the best I’ve seen at our studio in my career. It’s just one of those movies that critics and audiences alike are embracing, and I think it’s going to have a tremendous life.”

The Social Network traces the genesis of Facebook from Harvard University, where computer whiz Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his best friend launched the site, through its explosive growth to 500 million members, stock valuations in the billions and ensuing lawsuits.

Jesse Eisenberg turns in a tour de force performance as the brilliant but socially inept Harvard undergrad whose ambition destroys his close friendship with co-founder Eduardo Saverin (played exceptionally by Brit Andrew Garfield), while Justin Timberlake co-stars as the shady and frequently annoying Napster founder Sean Parker.

Meanwhile, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole was second at the weekend box office, grossing $10.9 million, while Wall Street 2 came in third, earning $10.1 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday (Oct. 1-3) at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to BoxOfficeMojo. Final figures will be released Monday Oct. 4.

  1. “The Social Network,” $23 million.
  2. “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” $10.9 million.
  3. “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” $10.1 million.
  4. “The Town,” $10 million.
  5. “Easy A,” $7 million.
  6. “You Again,” $5.6 million.
  7. “Case 39,” $5.35 million.
  8. “Let Me In,” $5.3 million.
  9. “Devil,” $3.7 million.
  10. “Alpha and Omega,” $3 million.

Samantha Chang is the executive editor of TheImproper and a celebrity writer at Examiner.