‘Inception’ Off to Solid Start with $21.3 Million on Friday

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With $21.3 million on Friday, including about $3 million from midnight screenings, Warner Bros. has to be happy with the nice start for Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Considering the costly $200 million price tag and the cerebral nature of the story, this is a film that’s going to depend on a long run more than a front-loaded box-office take in order to be looked at as successful. Then again, what exactly does Inception need to do to be considered a “success”? Laremy asked this question in a piece he did for Hollywood.com and I think it’s obvious. I think giving Nolan the money to make Inception was a “thank you” for making The Dark Knight and a down payment on him returning to make Batman 3. As I wrote in my review, “I’m happy the gesture was made and as an audience member I gladly accept.”

The question now is how much will this translate to? Well, take out the $3 million from midnights and massage the numbers a bit and I’d say we’re probably looking at about $55-58 million for the weekend. This is a number I would think WB will gladly accept. With Columbia’s Salt serving as the only demographic competition next weekend, next weekend will be the number the bean counters will likely take a closer look at in determining just what kind of “success” Inception truly is, but at this point I’d say WB has already popped the champagne.

The week’s other new comer is Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which is currently struggling at the box-office after opening on Wednesday with a meager $3.7 million. Thursday wasn’t any better with $3.2 million and on Friday it turned in an estimated $5.4 million. I would expect it to hang on to that number throughout the weekend and ultimately end somewhere around $18 million, if not a little higher, but a $25 million five-day haul isn’t impressive. Especially for a Jerry Bruckheimer production, which makes two domestic hiccups in a row after Prince of Persia.

In the #2 slot on Friday was the break-out animated hit Despicable Me, holding well from last weekend’s $56.3 million box-office topping weekend with $10 million on Friday and a likely weekend haul of $32 million or thereabouts. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is proving to have longer legs than New Moon with $4.5 million on Friday and showing signs of only a 54% dip whereas New Moon fell 64% in the same frame a year ago. That number should translate into about $15 million or so for the weekend.

Rounding out the top five is Toy Story 3 with $3.45 million and I would expect a weekend somewhere around $12.5 million adding to its $350+ million domestic take as of Thursday.

I’ve included the rest of the Friday box-office directly below and Laremy will be here on Sunday with a complete wrap-up.

  1. Inception – $21.3 million
  2. Despicable Me – $10 million
  3. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – $5.4 million
  4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $4.5 million
  5. Toy Story 3 – $3.45 million
  6. Grown Ups – $3.2 million
  7. The Last Airbender – $2.2 million
  8. Predators – $2.1 million
  9. Knight and Day – $1 million
  10. The Karate Kid – $650,000