Inception Holds Off the Schmucks

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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.

Despite the release of three new movies, Christopher Nolan’s Inception (Warner Bros.), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and an equally impressive ensemble cast, held steady with its third weekend at #1, bringing in an estimated $27.5 million to take its total to $193.3 million. This weekend was down just 36% from last weekend when it dropped just 32% from its opening weekend, showing fantastic legs for the acclaimed sci-fi thriller. While it’s still far behind Nolan’s previous movie The Dark Knight, it’s $40 million ahead of Nolan’s Batman Begins, which ended up grossing $205 million total. Inception should pass that amount by Friday and should be well on its way to $260 million plus by summer’s end.

Inception also topped the box office internationally, adding $53.7 million in 51 markets to push its overseas total to $170 million. Worldwide, the movie has earned $363.3 million so far.

With a last minute marketing push leading up to its opening, Jay Roach’s dark comedy Dinner for Schmucks (Paramount), starring Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis, brought in an estimated $23.3 million over the weekend for second place. That’s right along the lines of most of the early tracking and slightly better than Carell and Rudd’s previous movie together, Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin. It’s a weaker opening than Carell’s pairing with Tina Fey earlier this year in Date Night, though, and it doesn’t feel like Schmucks is destined to be a breakout summer comedy ala Superbad or Wedding Crashers.

The Angelina Jolie spy thriller Salt (Sony) dropped to third place with $19.2 million, down 47% from its opening weekend with a North American total of just under $71 million. Sony also reports that Salt brought in $24.5 million overseas this weekend bringing its worldwide total to $103 million in just ten days.

The animated family comedy Despicable Me continues to be one of Universal Pictures’ biggest hits in years, bringing in another $15.5 million for fourth place, having grossed $190.3 million total. It’s on its way to becoming Universal’s first movie to cross the $200 million mark in three years when Matt Damon’s The Bourne Ultimatum grossed $227.5 million

Warner Bros. took a big chance trying to make a sequel to a long-forgotten family movie, hoping the general success of PG movies this summer and higher 3D ticket prices would help Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore be another hit ala last summer’s G-Force. That plan failed miserably as the talking animals comedy made just $12.5 million over the weekend, following in the footsteps of 20th Century Fox’s non-3D Marmaduke earlier this summer.

Opening with $5.6 million on Friday, the Zac Efron dramatic vehicle Charlie St. Cloud (Universal) seemed like it might be a breakout hit, but it dropped drastically on Saturday as Efron’s female fanbase rushed out to see it on Friday, leaving it with just an estimated $12.1 million over the weekend.

Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3 dropped to 7th place with $5 million, bringing its total to $389.8 million. Already the highest-grossing movie of 2010, there’s a good chance it will pass the $400 million mark by summer’s end, making it Pixar’s first movie to do so and Disney’s second. Internationally, Toy Story 3 added $39.1 million for a foreign total of $436.4 million and worldwide sum of $826.1 million.

In eighth place, the Adam Sandler ensemble comedy Grown Ups (Sony) continued to hold up well with $4.5 million in its sixth weekend with $150.7 million total.

The Nicolas Cage-Jay Baruchel comedy-fantasy The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Disney) dropped five places to #9, down 55% from last week with roughly $4.3 million in its third week and $52 million total.

The hit threequel The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit) rounded out the Top 10 with just under $4 million and a five-week total of $288 million. It may come close to equaling the $297 million gross of its predecessor New Moon.

Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features) expanded nationwide into 850 theaters, but despite bringing in just $3.5 million in four times as many theaters, it ended up dropping one place from #11 to #12.

The Top 10 grossed $128 million, up 20% from the same weekend last year when Judd Apatow’s Funny People, starring Adam Sandler, disappointed with $22.6 million for first place.

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

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