"The Social Network" finds friends at box offices

Sun Oct 3, 2010 1:35pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Facebook movie "The Social Network" found millions of friends in theaters during the weekend, taking in $23 million and earning the No. 1 spot at box offices, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The movie, which tells of the founding of the popular social networking website, played in just under 2,800 U.S. and Canadian theaters for a per-theater average of around $8,300, a solid number compared to its rivals.

"It's a terrific start for a terrific film," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for the film's studio, Columbia Pictures.

Indeed, the movie from director David Fincher has earned wide praise from critics, scoring a 97 percent positive rating on website rottentomatoes.com, which ranks films after compiling reviews.

Columbia hopes "Social Network" may even compete for this year's Oscars, and a solid start at box offices will go a long way toward boosting its prospects for awards.

Based on positive buzz and a crush of publicity, some box office watchers thought its debut weekend ticket sales might eclipse the $25 million mark, but Columbia guided expectations to around $20 million because "Social Network" is a drama aimed at adults, who do not always turn out on opening weekends.

Columbia said women made up about 53 percent of the audience, while adults 25 years old and over were about 55 percent of those in theaters.

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