Sony launches much-buzzed-about pic “The Social Network” at 2,771 locations, looking to capitalize on the tsunami of publicity surrounding the film’s Facebook roots.
“The Social Network” has seen vibrant pre-sales, according to online ticketing service Fandango. The film accounted for 32% of ticket sales Wednesday.
Two horror pics also go wide this weekend: Overture’s vampire remake “Let Me In” at some 2,000 engagements and Paramount Vantage’s Renee Zellweger starrer “Case 39,” with Par releasing at 2,200. The two pics could bite into each other’s female-driven aud, though according to most B.O. observers, “Let Me In” has a slight edge over “Case 39” going into the weekend.
While “Social Network” should handily top the domestic box office, international auds will have to wait as Sony plans to stagger the film’s overseas rollout starting next week.
“Case 39,” which was shot in 2006, already played several overseas territories last year, totalling 3.3 million in Mexico and 3.8 million in Spain. “Let Me In,” based on the Swedish-lingo horror pic “Let the Right One In,” is set to roll out overseas over the next few months.
In limited release, New Films Cinema opens another horror-thriller, “Chain Letter,” at 404 locations, the widest Stateside release for the indie distrib.
Par Vantage expands education reform-themed docu “Waiting for Superman” in its second outing.
Last weekend, “Superman” debuted with the year’s highest per-screen average for a docu, posting weekend totals of $139,033. The doc will add 30 locations to its roster, including Washington, D.C., where school superintendent Michelle Rhee, featured in the film, has made news.
Among the frame’s wide releases, “Social Network” should play to the broadest audience, though Sony says the film should appeal especially strongly to younger males.
“Social Network” has garnered a clutch of highly positive reviews for its controversial portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg recently appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” announcing that he’s donating $100 million to his new charity Startup: Education.
“Social Network” stars Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg alongside Sony faves Andrew Garfield and Rooney Mara plus Justin Timberlake. The pic is directed by David Fincher, whose most recent title, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” opened for Paramount with $26.9 million. Most insiders expect “Social Network” to also bow in the high 20s.
Tracking has been moderate for “Case 39” and “Let Me In,” with studio expectations landing below $10 million for each.
Given the popularity of “Case 39” in Latin territories, the studio’s marketing team has heavily targeted the Hispanic market.
Christian Alvart-helmed film centers on a social worker (Zellweger) who, after inviting a troubled 10-year-old to live with her, realizes the girl may not be entirely innocent. Bradley Cooper, Ian McShane and Jodelle Ferland co-star.
“Let Me In,” which also tells the story of a not-so-innocent girl, toplines kid thesps Chloe Moretz (“Kick-Ass”) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Road”), with adult co-stars Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas. Helmer Matt Reeves also penned the film with co-scripter and original scribe John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Both “Case 39” and “Let Me In” are tracking strongest with female auds, with potential for the latter’s appeal to extends to adult moviegoers and arthouse auds, as the Swedish original was a specialty hit.
Adult-driven holdover titles like 20th Century Fox’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” and Warner Bros.’ “The Town” should be affected most by “Social Network” entering the market. “Wall Street” debuted last weekend with a moderate $19 million and totaled $24.3 million through Wednesday. Entering its third frame, “The Town” has cumed $53 million domestically.
Meanwhile, Warner’s 3D kidpic “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole” remains the newest family offering. “Legend” opened with $16.1 million, totaling $18.5 million in domestic B.O. receipts.