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How 'The Social Network' Is Trying to Outshine 'True Grit'

Jesse Eisenberg and Matt Damon
Getty Images

Sony is rereleasing the Facebook drama Friday to combat the momentum of Paramount’s box office hit.

With Paramount’s True Grit set to gallop across the $100 million mark this weekend at the domestic box office, awards rival The Social Network is aggressively trying to up its own b.o. profile by going back into theaters.

Sony’s announcement that The Social Network will play in roughly 600 theaters as of Friday follows a cavalcade of press touting True Grit’s surprisingly strong showing, and the fact that it will be a bigger domestic grosser than The Social Network, which has earned $93.3 million to date. (Scott Rudin produced both award frontrunners, so it’s Rudin vs. Rudin.)   Looking for a way to combat the True Grit wave and remind people of The Social Network’s global success, Sony says The Social Network is poised to cross the $200 million worldwide mark by the weekend, a goal potentially aided by the new theatrical runs in the U.S.   “The Social Network has struck a chord with audiences all around the world,” Sony vice chair Jeff Blake said. “At the box office, this film showed true staying power, grossing more than four times its opening weekend gross—a rare accomplishment when the average for wide releases last year was below three times the opening gross.”   There’s little time to spare.    The DVD of The Social Network comes out Tuesday, and exhibitors don’t like to carry films that have been released on DVD.   The Social Network’s international total through Tuesday was roughly $104 million for a global total $197.3 million.   Sony is well aware that it can’t get to $100 million domestically, but it can tout the $200 million figure when reporting numbers from this weekend to the press.   Box office observers say $200 million is a great number. The Social Network has a star director, but no big stars.    Through Tuesday, in its 15th day in release, True Grit’s domestic gross was $91.5 million. It should surpass The Social Network’s domestic total Wednesday or Thursday. True Grit hasn’t opened overseas.   Awards contenders released earlier in the year— The Social Network came out Oct. 1—often face the problem of being out of the box office limelight during the heart of awards season.   Re-releases aren’t uncommon in such a situation, although they usually don’t generate notable grosses. Last year, Summit released The Hurt Locker for a brief run.   Even before the official re-release,  The Social Network has still been playing in a smattering of theaters. Last weekend, it grossed $464,000 from 249 theaters.   Sony is taking the movie out in an additional 354 theaters on Friday.   True Grit has a shot at winning the weekend domestically, even with two new wide entries, Relativity Media’s Nicolas Cage historical actioner Season of the Witch and Screen Gems’ Gwyneth Paltrow starrer Country Strong.