Sony hopes for a long shelf life for the film, which outlines the quarrelsome creation of the now ubiquitous online networking website. Sony's head of distribution, Rory Bruer, predicts that the film has a good shot at becoming a $100 million hit.
The weekend's other new releases didn't quite hit the same high note. Paramount's horror flick "Case 39," starring Renee Zellweger, opened at No. 7 with $5.35 million, while Overture Film's vampire tale "Let Me In," based on the novel "Let the Right One In," debuted at No. 8 with $5.3 million.
However, Warner Bros.' animated flick, "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" held up well and came in No. 2 for the weekend with $10.9 million, raising its total to $30 million.
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," came in third place with $10.1 million, making its total $35.9 million.
"The Social Network" follows the birth of Facebook from Harvard, where friends Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and 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.
Justin Timberlake co-stars as Napster founder Sean Parker.
Facebook has called the film "fiction" about its founder, the notoriously private Zuckerberg.
1. "The Social Network," $23 million.
2. "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole," $10.9 million.
3. "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," $10.1 million.
4. "The Town," $10 million.
5. "Easy A," $7 million.
6. "You Again," $5.6 million.
7. "Case 39," $5.35 million.
8. "Let Me In," $5.3 million.
9. "Devil," $3.7 million.
10. "Alpha and Omega," $3 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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