The Social Network was triumphant over the weekend. However, although The Social Network topped the box office, it wasn’t an overwhelming victory. Although it took home $23 million in early estimates, with all of the Oscar buzz and rave reviews, it could have been a bit higher. The hope is that word-of-mouth will now kick in and boost things, yet if it doesn’t, it might harm its award chances. But already there is an excuse that if the movie doesn’t take off, it might be because it has been accused of being “elitist”
Despite the $23 million gross, reports are that most of it came from the East and West Coasts, according to Deadline Hollywood. An unnamed studio executive told Deadline that only the coasts, and a “smidge of Chicago,” came out to see the film, while the rest of the nation “could care less.”
The Social Network is a movie that wasn’t expected to be a blockbuster. However, given the huge raves, the popularity of Facebook, and the controversy over its founding, some substantial interest was expected. The box office was good enough for an opening win, but the real test will come in future weekends.
If this is indeed a word-of-mouth picture, it will stay strong this weekend, even if it doesn’t remain at No. 1. Already this fall, The Town and Easy A have used good reviews and positive buzz to stay in the top 5, even after a few weeks. Since The Social Network is considered to be even better, critics and pundits hope that it will have the same luck.
Yet, now that it has been hit with the “elitist” label, it could be a substantial obstacle. Although the ads and promos tried to make the film more teen-friendly, it seemed to only work on the coasts. Since having an “elitist” perception is a more damaging thing these days, especially in politics, it may hamper its chances in the rest of the country.
Of course, since the Oscars are held on one of those coasts, the movie still has a good shot at playing well with Academy voters. However, the big debate on that end is whether elderly voters will connect with a film about Facebook and the youth-centric Internet revolution. On several ends, it seems people are worried about whether enough viewers will “get” the film.
Such questions may haunt The Social Network throughout Oscar season, assuming the box office doesn’t stay stable. It will attempt to stay its ground against Secretariat, Life As We Know It and My Soul To Take, and older films like Legend of the Guardians and The Town.
Deadline Hollywood- “Facebook Film #1”
Cinemablend- “Middle America Refused To See The Social Network”