Win A Signed Copy Of Empowered: Predict The Social Network Box Office

We're less than a week away from the release of The Social Network.  What do you think the film's US box office will be? Are we looking at a $150-million blockbuster?  A $100-million success?  Or a $50-million disappointment?  Post your predictions here or tweet them on Twitter to @augieray with the hashtag #SNBO (for Social Network Box Office), and you could earn not only bragging rights but also receive a free copy of Empowered, signed by best-selling author Josh Bernoff.  You must post your prediction before 8 a.m. PDT on Friday, October 1, and we'll declare a winner on Monday, October 25.  

It seems everyone in the world (or at least everyone in my world) is buzzing about The Social Network.  In case you're living in a cave, The Social Network is the fictionalized story of the founding of Facebook, featuring real-life characters such as Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Sean Parker, and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. 

The film is generating big buzz for several reasons.  First, early screenings have caused an explosion of Oscar chatter; many reviewers have yet to weigh in, but the film presently has a 100% Tomatometer score.  Second, the movie has an incredible pedigree: Directed by David Fincher, written by Aaron Sorkin, and starring rising stars like Jesse EisenbergRooney Mara and Andrew Garfield, plus an unknown named Justin Timberlake. (I hear he can sing.) Lastly, the buzz over The Social Network has been propelled by talk that it captures today's zeitgeist.  Some say the film is the next The Graduate, a movie that doesn't just reflect but helps define a generation--the good, the bad and the ugly.

Of course, here in the Bay Area--Facebook's backyard--there's also a great deal of speculation about how the movie may affect Facebook.  Already the subject of several mini-revolts over default privacy settings and data sharing, Facebook is a lightning rod for concerns over how social networks use and sell members' data.  Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has made headlines and drawn criticism over some of his pronouncements, such as that privacy is no longer a "social norm."   The portrayal of him in this film isn't likely to assuage critics, and there's speculation that if this film is big--really big--it could alter attitudes toward social networks, motivate people to recheck their Facebook privacy settings, spark Facebook defections, force the social network to play defense and make substantive changes, and possibly cause Zuckerberg to step away as the public face of his own company.

So, what do you think? Are we about to see the launch a megahit? Or will The Social Network play to modest crowds? Over on HSX.com (a virtual stock exchange for movies that once was an addiction of mine), the movie is currently going for $88.65, meaning the HSX community is predicting total U.S. box office of $88.65 million after the movie's first four weekends.  Since adult dramas and biographies are a tough to sell to American audiences (Walk the Line was considered a big hit but still only earned $119 million in the U.S.), I'll predict a U.S. box office of $95 million.  

Post your prediction here or on Twitter, and on Monday, October 25th (after movie's fourth weekend), we'll declare a winner. Big bragging rights are at stake, plus an autographed copy of Empowered.  The book was released a little over a week ago, is getting four-plus-star reviews on Amazon,  and is already #33 (and rising quickly) on Amazon's list of top Management and Leadership - Leadership books. Abbey Klaassen, Executive Editor of Advertising Age, said this book is one of the "all-too-rare category of business books that don’t just tell you what to do but also offer a framework on how to do it." I've read it and can recommend this book to anyone interested in social media marketing or in how social media is changing corporate culture.

Quick summary of rules:

  • You must share your prediction for US Box Office of "The Social Network" between now and 8 am PDT on Friday, October 1st.  Predictions must be posted as a comment to this blog post or on Twitter as a tweet directed to @augieray and containing the hashtag #SNBO .
  • Contest closes on Monday, October 25th based on the Total Gross through the first four weekends as posted on the Box Office Mojo weekend chart
  • Judges' decisions are final.  
  • We'll contact the winner for their address so we can send the grand prize.

Comments

Let's go with $111 million

Let's go with $111 million

SNBO Guess

$127 million

The Social Network prediction

doesn't seem like the epic movie that i would ever drop everything to go see, rather it falls to the bottom of my 'netflix list'. though, i'm sure plenty of people will be bored enough to spend 2hrs and $15 to go see this. my prediction is $87.21 million in first 4 weeks.

Thanks everyone!

I hope more people will play. So far we have 18 entries ranging from $67M to $127M.

SFNO Prediction

My guess: $92 million.

SNBO

Although, Facebook has been quite a phenomenon I can't see what the draw would be. It's not going to be the estimated 500M users that will see this as entertainment. The draw will be those technorati that have an interest in taking a look behind the perverbial curtain. My bet is no more than $60M at the box office - downloads and rentals a whole different ballgame.

Thanks Remig

I have duly noted your prediction, but I think (as with all biographic movies) the draw won't be to see how Facebook was founded but to see a compelling story. I think you're prediction will be conservative, but time will tell. (October 25th, to be exact.)

Facebook prediction

Colleges filled again and 8 date nights in the mix. I am guessing $104,500

I'll take that bet

Hmmm, so do you want to put money on whether it will earn more than $104,500 in four weeks? I'll give you odds and everything! :)

No bet just a prediction. I

No bet just a prediction. I am a bad judge for films. We see 1-2 per year in a good year! On top of it my crystal ball is SO old upgrades are no longer available!

I'm a movie fan

As you can probably tell, I'm a movie fan. Looking forward to seeing "Waiting for Superman," which looks like a good and infuriating documentary. That'll be the next movie I see after "The Social Network."

i am a theater fan

Thanks Augie. I have worked my way through about a third of Empowered so far. There are some great examples of HEROs and excellent background research.

Mu wife and I are more into live theater. We ha a fantastic rep theater company in Niagara, the Shaw Festival that provides wonderful experiences. I am looking forward to seeing Facebook the second weekend.

Cheers

Social Network Box Office Prediction

Augie,

I really like your concept here, but am astonished that you left out Ted Schadler as one of the authors of Empowered! Now for the picture analysis. Sorkin is a brilliant screen/teleplay writer. High drama with a slick sense for what's trendy and great wit. Not humor, but wit. There's a difference. Fincher is a director's director. Stylistic, montage driven and partial to dark stories. I love this combination. I think that this film will do well at the box office with the under 28 year old crowd. And if it Facebook did not actually exist, the film would be a blockbuster. But Facebook is about your friends and less about who put it together. There's interest for sure, but no one really cares that deeply. Kind of like the gossip column.

In my mind that translates to a pretty strong first weekend, about $20 MM, but it will peak quickly and at the end of 4 weeks will be at $87 million domestic BO.

Thanks, Steve

I definitely should have mentioned Ted, but in speaking to Josh about the logistics of getting a signed copy of the book, it seemed as if arranging this with both of these two busy guys would be a monumental effort.

I'm a big Sorkin fan too. West Wing remains one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and I was a fan of "Studio 60" which wasn't given the chance it deserved.

Your $87M prediction is duly noted!

Everyone's #SNBO Contest Entry

The entry period has closed. We'll judge the winner on October 25th. Thanks to all who participated!

Here are the entries we received:

Name: Prediction in millions
@robainbinder: 22.400
@CredibleLA: 23.000
@NigelFenwick: 45.000
Remig Raffanti: 60.000
@jeffmclfc: 67.000
@rhilsen: 68.500
@bwdumars: 77.000
melindabk: 80.000
@DavidLongOnline: 83.000
@krissyfischer: 84.000
@sixstringcpa: 84.500
Steve Furman: 87.000
Brian Wicklund: 87.210
@aeshna: 87.500
@Bos_zelf: 91.000
Doug Newdick: 92.000
@BrookeZam: 93.000
@parthathoughts: 95.000
@augieray: 95.000
@TTaxChels: 100.000
@abonde: 101.000
@wrongflowers: 102.000
@VRONV: 103.000
@blatantlybianca: 106.000
Joe Goss: 111.000
@blairboone : 112.000
@rohitkoshie: 115.000
@iamreff: 124.000
@bfr3nch: 125.000
Andrew O'Hearn: 127.000
@aWANana2: 127.535
@meannie: 130.000
@KatieMcCaskey: 150.000

AVERAGE: 92.595
MEDIAN: 93.000

We have a winner: Bert DuMars

It was a close race between Bert DuMars and Rob Hilsen, but Bert's prediction for the box office of The Social Network was $360,000 closer. Rob predicted $68.5 million, Bert predicted $77 million, and the actual gross after four weekends is $72,931,000 (http://boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/).

Congratulations to Bert, who will receive a copy of "Empowered" signed by Josh Bernoff.