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The Social Network” was released in theatres across the U.S. on Friday, October 1, capturing the No. 1 spot on the box office chart with $22.4 million in box office returns over the weekend. The movie is a dramatic interpretation of the making of Internet social networking website Facebook and the story of its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

Directed by David Fincher and distributed by Sony Pictures, the film has received widespread critical praise – 96/100, according to Metacritic. Chicago Sun-Times film critic Robert Ebert said, “David Fincher’s film has the rare quality of being not only as smart as its brilliant hero, but in the same way. It is cocksure, impatient, cold, exciting and instinctively perceptive.”

Apparently, theatre attendance was higher in cities than elsewhere. A Sony executive reportedly said, “Still, I’m surprised box office wasn’t even better … — like $30+M given its obvious Facebook/My Space/Twitter effect.” He added that, “… the reason may well lie in the film’s elitism which could be keeping more mainstream audiences away.”

Time Magazine’s Richard Corliss’ apparently concurs, “This is a high-IQ movie that gives viewers an IQ high,” he wrote.

According to a rival studio representative, “The Social Network” is a “big city pic only”, which was viewed mainly in “Left coast, right coast, and a smidge of Chicago …”.

Audiences outside of the big cities may not have rushed to see the film, but critical acclaim and positive reviews may encourage them to do so in the coming weeks. This would help keep “The Social Network” among the top five box office hits and promote its chances of winning an Oscar. On the other hand, an elitist label could hamper the film’s success.

“The Social Network” is based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book, Accidental Billionaires. Scott Rudin produced the film and Aaron Sorkin wrote the script. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook employees were not involved in the production of the film. Source here. Official website here.

I definitely want to see this film…