Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
October 4, 2010
*Gets into chicken fight with Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Richard BransonKim Hollis: The Social Network, arguably the best-reviewed film of the year, won the weekend with $22.4 million but failed to break out. Is this a good enough result for Sony, or do you consider the opening weekend something of a missed opportunity?
Brett Beach: This is the third weekend in a row where a movie ostensibly targeted at adults (or at least not aimed directly at the youth market) has opened at number one, which I take not only as a sign that yes the fall season is officially here, but gives me a small measure of joy. At the same time, perhaps this hurts all three as well since adults don't necessarily rush out opening weekend to see something, and then must decide between several worthy options.
I am torn between thinking that The Social Network left some money on the table and that it opened well within reasonable expectations. I don't think talk I read of $30 million and above was really all that likely. Unless word-of-mouth somehow runs counter to the great reviews, I do see this playing well for the next few months and making up for whatever flavor of underwhelming this leaves behind. This was not a star vehicle, nor was it ridiculously expensive, so my instinct is ultimately to claim this as a (small) victory for now but veering towards a solid win as we head towards year's end.
Matthew Huntley: Good call, Brett. Just two weeks ago, The Town opened to similar numbers and is showing respectable legs at the box office (thanks to its reviews and adult demographic), so there's no reason to think The Social Network shouldn't perform the same.
Speaking of demographic, it's been speculated the reason The Social Network didn't break out was because its audience base was too limited - i.e. it was geared toward adults living around major cities - and the Midwest section of the country failed to respond. I know it's hard to believe when the movie is about a little phenomenon called Facebook, but it's something to consider. On that same note, did anyone else notice the word "Facebook" isn't on/in any of the posters/billboards/trailers? I'm willing to bet many people didn't know what the movie was about (I know, that's also hard to imagine). Did you also notice there was never any reference to any other David Fincher/Aaron Sorkin works in the ads (perhaps, "From the director of Fight Club and the writer of A Few Good Men, or something along those lines)? Only their names were used, which might have had many people (perhaps in the Midwest) asking, "Who?" What are peoples' thoughts on this?
To answer Kim's question, no, I don't think this is a missed opportunity. If there is, in fact, real Oscar buzz to go along with the film, or at least some awards season buzz, it will eventually pay off. As Brett also mentioned, sub-$40 million budget won't be that hard to make up.