A group of clowns usurped a genius Harvard drop-out as Paramount’s Jackass 3-D soared to number one in its opening weekend thanks to an estimated $50m haul that set a new opening record for October..

Summit’s graphic novel adaptation Red starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren opened in second on $22.5m, while Sony’s hotly tipped Oscar contender The Social Network tumbled two places to third on $11m and has amassed $63.1m after three weekends.

Warner Bros’ Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole slid 39% and two placesm to sixth in its fourth weekend. The $46m running total will rankle studio top brass.

Bluff City Films launched the drama N-Secure starring Cordell Moore and Essence Atkins in eleventh place on $1.4m. Focus Features’ It’s Kind Of A Funny Story ranks twelfth on $4m after two weekends and The Kids Are All Right has amassed an excellent $20m after 15 weeks in release. Overture’s vampire remake Let Me In ranks 16th on a lowly $11.3m after three weeks.

Warner Bros released Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter outside the top 20 on $231,000 from six for a terrific $38,500 per-theatre average and will expand the supernatural drama wide next weekend. Fox Searchlight’s legal drama Conviction starring Hilary Swank opened lower down the charts on $110,000 from 11.

Paramount should extend its dominion over the charts next weekend when it unleashes the horror sequel Paranormal Activity 2. Lionsgate will open Saw 3D the following weekend, avoiding a repeat of last year’s head-on clash that resulted in a humbling second place launch for Saw VI behind Paranormal Activity. Hereafter will expand into more than 2,200 theatres.

Estimated Top 10 North America Oct 15-17, 2010

Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Jackass 3-D (Paramount) PPI $50m –

2 (-) Red (Summit) Summit Int’l $22.5m –

3 (1) The Social Network (Sony) SPRI $11m $63.1m

4 (3) Secretariat (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $9.5m $27.5m

5 (2) Life As We Know It (Warner Bros) WBPI $9.2m $28.9m

6 (4) Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole (Warner Bros) WBPI $4.2m $46m

7 (6) The Town (Warner Bros) WBPI $4m $80.6m

8 (5) My Soul To Take (Universal) Relativity $3.2m $11.9m

9 (8) Easy A (Screen Gems) SPRI $2.7m $52.3m

10 (7) Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Fox) Fox Int’l $2.4m $47.9m