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(Pocket-lint) - It has all the ingredients to be a big hit; a top class director in David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), a screenplay by a proven expert - Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing and A Few Good Men) - and one of the most promising up and coming actors in Hollywood in Jesse Eisenberg.

But, it is also a film about Facebook and co-stars Justin Timberlake.

To be honest, it could have gone either way.

But Sony and Columbia Pictures will be breathing a heavy sigh of relief after the opening weekend of The Social Network saw it record big box office revenue upon its US release, and also some pretty favourable reviews from the public and the top critics.

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It went straight in to number 1 in the US box office charts, with an opening weekend return of $23 million in ticket sales.

With a budget of around $40 - 50 million (depending on what report you believe), the film is well on its way to making a profit for the studios, before it even gets its worldwide release later this month.

The critics have praised it as well. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, gave it four stars and wrote: "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".

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers also gave the film four stars (the first time he had given four this year) and said: "The Social Network is the movie of the year. But Fincher and Sorkin triumph by taking it further. Lacing their scathing wit with an aching sadness, they define the dark irony of the past decade".

It's also gone down pretty well with the public. IMDB currently has a score of 8.6 for the film, and Rotten Tomatoes has it with an audience rating of 83 per cent (to go with its critics rating of 97 per cent fresh).

The Social Network hits UK cinemas on 15 October. 

Writing by Paul Lamkin.