Though "Inception" wasn't one of the biggest openings of the year, as some had expected, Christopher Nolan's latest action epic still brought in a chart-topping $60 million over the weekend. Also opening was fantasy adventure "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," though it struggled to reach its target demographic and earned a lackluster $17 million over its first weekend in theaters.
Backed by strong critical reviews and considerable internet hype, "Inception" had plenty of momentum heading into the weekend. With a production budget of $160 million, "Inception" was also an expensive release but still cheaper than many of the other big releases this summer, including "Robin Hood," "Iron Man 2" and "Shrek Forever After."
For director Christopher Nolan, it's his second consecutive release that landed at number one and he has now established himself as a go-to filmmaker for event releases. Though "Inception" obviously won't reach the same level of commercial success as his last feature, "The Dark Knight," Nolan has been able to reach mainstream audiences with his revisionist takes on familiar action themes.
Having Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead actor also doesn't hurt and it's the second number one release for DiCaprio in 2010 alone. "Shutter Island" was already one of the best performing R-rated movies of the year and "Inception" seems destined to be one of the biggest non-sequels of the year.
"Inception" will have some heavy competition next weekend from Angelina Jolie's "Salt," but positive reviews and a narrative style that warrants repeat viewings should keep "Inception" rolling well into August.
The same can definitely not be said of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Carrying a robust production budget of $150 million, "Apprentice" brought in just $17 million over the weekend on a per theater average of under $5,000.
"Apprentice" actually opened last Wednesday, mainly to give it a few days without competition from "Inception," but still earned a very sub-par $24 million in its first five days. With new action competition next weekend, "Apprentice" should see a sharp decline and will likely go down as one of the worst performing big-budget releases of the year.
With a substantially smaller budget, "Despicable Me" continues to hit big with its target demographic and brought in $32 million in its second weekend in theaters. The weekend total was good enough for second on the box office charts and pushed its domestic revenue total to $118 million in just ten days.
"Despicable Me" clearly has very strong word-of-mouth right now, which will give it a chance at pushing toward $200 million in domestic receipts alone.
Another release that continues to click with its intended demographic is Adam Sandler's comedy "Grown Ups." Over its fourth weekend in theaters, "Grown Ups" hauled in another $10 million, pushing its domestic total to $129 million.
Considering the way that "Sex and the City 2" underperformed, "Grown Ups" could potentially be the number one comedy of the year when all is said and done, though the Ben Stiller starring "Little Fockers" will also be in the running following its holiday season release.
While "Grown Ups" could very well become the number one comedy of the year, animated "Toy Story 3" continues to put up the type of numbers that could make it the number one overall movie in terms of worldwide revenue.
In its fifth weekend in theaters, "Toy Story 3" was still in the top five with $11 million, bringing its domestic total to $362 million and counting. That total is already number one this year and it's already racked up $630 million worldwide. If it can continue to do well in foreign markets, "Toy Story 3" should make a run at $1 billion before all is said and done.
With "Salt" opening next weekend, it was also likely the last time that "Knight & Day" will land in the top ten. After four weekends in theaters, the $117 million production has earned just $69 million domestically and is beginning to see a sharp decline in total number of screenings. Because of lead actor Tom Cruise's international appeal, however, "Knight & Day" has done fairly well overseas, bringing its worldwide total to $132 million.
Next weekend, more action will hit the screens in the form of "Salt," a PG-13 espionage thriller starring Angelina Jolie. Also opening will be family feature "Ramona and Beezus," though it appears like it will open to less than 3,000 theaters and have problems competing with "Despicable Me."
Early Studio Box Office Estimates For 7/16- 7/18 (In Millions), RTT Prediction]:
1) Inception (Warner Brothers): $60 [$78]
2) Despicable Me (Universal): $32.73 [$36]
3) The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Buena Vista): $17.37 [$18]
4) The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit): $13.50 [$17.5]
5) Toy Story 3 (Disney/Buena Vista): $11.74 [$13]
6) Grown Ups (Sony/Columbia): $10 [$8.5]
7) The Last Airbender (Paramount): $7.45 [$7.5]
8) Predators (Fox): $6.80 [$11]
9) Knight & Day (Fox): $3.70 [$4.5]
10) The Karate Kid (Sony/Columbia): $2.20 [$3]
by RTT Staff Writer
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