Box Office Dreams Do Come True for Inception

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The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

After having enormous success with his Batman sequel The Dark Knight in 2008, filmmaker Christopher Nolan took a bit of a chance with his sci-fi action thriller Inception (Warner Bros.) starring Leonardo DiCaprio with support from Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Michael Caine. His first movie based on an original idea since Memento with a premise involving dream thieves which mixed high-paced action with cerebral ideas, there were numerous questions last week whether Nolan’s critically-praised film could do well among mainstream audiences, since some thought of it as difficult material. In fact, the originality of the ideas and the overwhelming desire for originality added to the advance buzz to help Inception do better than some expected. After opening on Friday with $21.7 million, Inception held well over the weekend to bring in an estimated $60.4 million in its first weekend, which is in the general range of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs and Warner Bros.’ earlier 2010 hit Clash of the Titans. We can probably expect it to continue to do well due to word-of-mouth and repeat viewings to surpass the $200 million mark by sometime in mid-August.

Universal Pictures’ animated comedy hit Despicable Me dropped 42% from its fantastic opening weekend but still maintained second place with roughly $32.7 million, bringing its total in ten days to $118.4 million.

Opening on Wednesday, Jerry Bruckheimer’s second movie of the summer, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Disney), reuniting him with actor Nicolas Cage and National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub and co-starring Jay Baruchel, failed to make waves, taking in just $17.4 million over the three-day weekend after making $7 million on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s a major disappointment for Bruckheimer and Disney, having already had a poor showing for their previous summer action fantasy Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and it will end up among some of Nicolas Cage’s lesser-regarded movies in terms of box office even if it picks up business due to word-of-mouth.

Summit’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse took another hit in its third weekend, dropping to fourth place with $13.5 million, down 58% from last week, and with a total gross of roughly $265 million. It’s doubtful the third movie based on a Stephenie Meyer novel will gross as much as the previous installment New Moon or hit the $300 million mark based on how quickly its dropping off on a week-by-week basis.

In fifth place, Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3 continues its successful run, having become the highest-grossing movie of the year in the past week, and adding another $11.7 million to bring its five-week total to an astounding $363 million. With Disney currently having the top two highest-grossing releases of 2010 in Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland, they’re sitting pretty even with the disappointing showings for both of their summer movies produced with Jerry Bruckheimer.

The Adam Sandler ensemble comedy Grown Ups (Sony) took sixth place with an estimated $10 million, bringing its total to $129.2 million after four weeks. It’s definitely in line to become one of Sandler’s Top 5 grossing movies likely to end up just below the $158 million made by The Longest Yard, Sandler’s last teaming with Chris Rock.

M. Night Shyamalan’s take on the cartoon series The Last Airbender (Paramount) dropped to seventh place with $7.4 million and $114.8 million total, while the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators (20th Century Fox) tanked in its second weekend, likely due to the direct competition from Nolan’s Inception. It dropped from third place to eighth with $6.8 million, down a horrendous 73% from its opening weekend despite generally good reviews.

The Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz action movie Knight and Day (20th Century Fox) took ninth place with $3.7 million and $69.2 million after four weeks in theaters, and the Top 10 was rounded out by Sony’s remake of The Karate Kid with $2.2 million and a six-week gross almost exactly $100 million more than Knight and Day.

Two independent releases and Sundance favorites that continue to bring in audiences are the Duplass Brothers’ Cyrus (Fox Searchlight) and Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), each which brought in a million dollars this weekend to take places in the Top 12 despite playing in fewer than 500 theaters. (Cholodenko’s movie did a million in just 38 theaters, showing that Focus Features could have a breakout hit with their Sundance purchase.)

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.

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