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Weekend Report: 'Social Network' Saves Face in Second Weekend

by Brandon Gray
The Social Network
 

 
October 11, 2010

The Social Network had enough friends to lead the box office again over the weekend, while new releases Life as We Know It and Secretariat had decent starts and My Soul to Take didn't take. Overall business was off 16 percent from the same weekend last year when Couples Retreat opened.

Boasting the smallest percentage second weekend decline of any No. 1 movie this year, The Social Network pulled in $15.5 million, increasing its sum to $46 million in ten days. Its 31 percent dip was also the lowest of the weekend among nationwide holdovers, and it held better than 21 among past similar titles, though that picture still had better attendance.

Life as We Know It took in $14.5 million on approximately 3,600 screens at 3,150 locations. That was less than the first weekend of Katherine Heigl's last movie, Killers ($15.8 million), but it was a bit greater than thematically-similar titles like Raising Helen, No Reservations and My Sister's Keeper. Distributor Warner Bros' exit polling indicated that 68 percent of the audience was female and 70 percent was aged 25 years and older.

In the show position, Secretariat clocked in with $12.7 million on around 3,600 screens at 3,072 locations. While far from the champion that the titular horse was, the movie's opening was stronger than recent October horse movies Flicka and Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story. Secretariat, though, trailed its most comparable picture, Seabiscuit, by a wide margin. Playing at two thirds of the theaters, Seabiscuit made $20.9 million out of the gate, or the equivalent of over $27 million adjusted for ticket price inflation (though it had more hype and a best-selling book behind it). Distributor Walt Disney Pictures reported that Secretariat played stronger than normal for its gross in the middle of the country (especially in Kentucky, of course). The studio's research showed that 58 percent of the audience was aged 35 years and older, that 55 percent of the audience was female, and that 67 percent was "couples" (followed by "families" at 27 percent).

My Soul to Take crept in with a quiet $6.8 million on close to 2,700 screens at 2,572 locations, despite the 3D premium for most of its showings. 3D accounted for around 86 percent of its business. My Soul to Take had the worst opening yet for a 3D movie playing at over 1,500 venues, claiming the title from Alpha and Omega. It was also well behind Piranha 3D's $10.1 million launch, and it had one of the weakest starts of its genre, grabbing about the same attendance as The Return and Sorority Row. According to distributor Universal Pictures, 54 percent of the audience was female and 52 percent was 25 years of age and older.

Life as We Know It had the most aggressive marketing push of all new releases, but the ads' nondescript baby comedy was only distinguished by stars Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. Secretariat received a lot of advertising fanfare as well, trumpeting the stakes and accomplishments of the titular horse and his owner (played by Diane Lane), but it struck too close to Seabiscuit in look and feel and lacked that movie's underdog theme. My Soul to Take was no slouch on the marketing front either, but its ads only offered generic scares, no characters to relate to and an undefined villain, relying mostly on writer-director Wes Craven's name. All told, these movies' grosses were a far cry from the size of their marketing campaigns. For more analysis on Life as We Know It, Secretariat and My Soul to Take, click here to read the Weekend Briefing.

The weekend's fourth new nationwide release, It's Kind of a Funny Story, drew few patrons, ranking 12th with $2 million at 742 locations.

Among other holdovers, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole eased 37 percent to $6.9 million (around two thirds of which from 3D showings), lifting its total to a still modest $39.3 million in 17 days. The Town hung in there as well, making $6.4 million, off 34 percent for a sturdy $73.8 million total in 24 days. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, on the other hand, had another crash, tumbling 54 percent to $4.6 million. Tallying $43.6 million in 17 days, the sequel will out-gross the first Wall Street's $43.8 million on Monday, but it will have nowhere near the impact in terms of attendance.

Related Story
Weekend Briefing: 'Life as We Know It,' 'My Soul to Take,' 'Secretariat' Enter Race

Last Weekend:
'Social Network' No Wallflower in Its Debut

This Timeframe in Past Years:
2009 - 'Couples Retreat' Advances, 'Paranormal Activity' Spikes
2008 -
'Chihuahua' Remains Top Dog
2007 - 'Why Did I Get Married' Brightens Drab Weekend
2006 - 'Grudge' Budges in Popularity
2005 - 'Fog' Tops Soggy Weekend, Few Visit 'Elizabethtown'

Related Charts
Weekend Box Office Results
2010 Grosses



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