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The Social Network Box Office: David Fincher’s Facebook Drama Is Rare Adult-Oriented Hit

The Social Network Jesse EisenbergThe Social Network with Jesse Eisenberg: David Fincher’s acclaimed, adult-oriented box office hit. In early 2009, Fincher received a Academy Award nomination for the global box office hit The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
  • The Social Network box office: Featuring Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, David Fincher’s real-life-based drama is one of those rare critically acclaimed, adult-oriented dramas to have found favor among moviegoers. Two other new releases weren’t nearly as successful.

The Social Network box office: David Fincher’s acclaimed Facebook drama is a rare adult-oriented hit

Oct. 1–3 weekend box office: Featuring a group of young actors – Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara – David Fincher’s critically acclaimed real-life-based drama The Social Network, about all the nasty infighting and backstabbing following the creation of Facebook, topped the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart with $22.4 million from 2,771 theaters ($8,100 per venue) according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.

Some have labeled the opening a disappointment, as several box office pundits had predicted this Columbia/Sony Pictures release would gross at least $25 million. That’s nonsense. Pundits are the ones who should adjust their oft-off-the-mark tracking methods.

In fact, $22.4 million was a solid opening-weekend figure for an adult-oriented drama featuring no major box office draws. Which shows that, regardless of what has been said about the irrelevance of film criticism, there’s a significant number of moviegoers out there who do pay attention to what reviewers have to say.

Warmer reception in urban areas

For comparison’s sake: Two weekends ago, Ben Affleck’s heist thriller The Town was declared a hit when it debuted with $23.8 million ($8,321 per-venue average). How come? Well, Affleck’s well-regarded, adult-oriented effort had easily surpassed pundits’ expectations.

Also worth noting, The Town and The Social Network may have cost about the same: The former was budgeted at a reported $37 million vs. the latter’s $40 million (some reports peg it at $50 million; and as always, production budget figures don’t include marketing and distribution expenses).

Lastly, as per various reports citing sources at Sony Pictures, The Social Network did well in urban centers on the West and East coasts and in Chicago, but failed to do strong business elsewhere. It wasn’t exactly a big draw in Canada either.

Movie to beat at the Oscars

But shed no tears for Sony Pictures. As a result of its overwhelmingly positive critical reception and the ensuing awards season buzz, The Social Network – for the time being, the film to beat at the 2011 Oscars – will surely have a long life at the domestic box office.

Besides the actors mentioned at the top of this article, David Fincher’s Facebook drama also features Max Minghella, Brenda Song, John Getz, David Selby, Douglas Urbanski, Joseph Mazzello, Dakota Johnson, and Josh Pence’s body (with Armie Hammer’s face; Pence is also seen in a cameo).

Aaron Sorkin adapted Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal.

Profitable adult-oriented drama

Update: David Fincher’s Facebook drama The Social Network ultimately collected a solid $97 million domestically and an even better $127.9 million internationally. Worldwide total: A highly profitable $224.9 million.

Its top international markets were Japan ($17 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($17 million), France ($13.1 million), Australia ($12.3 million), Germany ($9.3 million), Spain ($6.6 million), and Brazil ($5.3 million).


The Social Network box office” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “The Social Network Box Office: David Fincher’s Facebook Drama Is Rare Adult-Oriented Hit” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).

Comments about The Social Network and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).

Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Jesse Eisenberg The Social Network movie image: Columbia Pictures | Sony Pictures Releasing.

The Social Network Box Office: David Fincher’s Facebook Drama Is Rare Adult-Oriented Hit” last updated in October 2022.

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