Movie fans are spending some face time with a story about the founders of Facebook.
"The Social Network," director David Fincher's drama about the quarrelsome creation of the online juggernaut debuted as the No. 1 weekend film with $23 million, The Associated Press reported.
Distributor Sony hopes for a long shelf life for the film, which has earned Academy Awards buzz and rave reviews. Rory Bruer, Sony's head of distribution, said "The Social Network" has a good shot at becoming a $100-million hit.
"It really is a great start for us. This is a movie that is resonating everywhere. The reviews are the best I've seen at our studio in my career," Bruer said. "It's just one of those movies that critics and audiences alike are embracing, and I think it's going to have a tremendous life." The weekend's other new wide releases had weak starts.
"The Social Network" traces the history of Facebook from Harvard University, where computer whiz Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) launched the site, through its meteoric rise with 500 million members and a stock value in the billions.
The film also follows the nasty legal fight as Zuckerberg faces lawsuits by Saverin, who says he was cheated out of millions, and three other students who claim he stole the idea from them.
Facebook has called the film "fiction" about its founder, the notoriously private Zuckerberg.