Weekend Box Office – INCEPTION Leads for Third Straight Week with $27.3 Million; DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS Takes Second with $23.3 Million

     August 1, 2010

After briefly giving way on Friday for newcomer Dinner For Schmucks, Inception is back on top for a third straight weekend. Once again, Christopher Nolan’s original thriller retained nearly 65% of its grosses from last weekend and is now looking to cross $200 million by midweek. Schmucks placed second with $23.3 million while the weekend’s two other wide releases, Charlie St. Cloud and Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore became the latest disappointments in a summer that has seen little else.

Title Weekend Total
1 Inception $27,500,000 $193.3
2 Dinner for Schmucks $23,300,000 $23.3
3 Salt $19,300,000 $70.8
4 Despicable Me $15,500,000 $190.3
5 Cats & Dogs 2 $12,500,000 $12.5
6 Charlie St. Cloud $12,100,000 $12.1
7 Toy Story 3 $5,035,000 $389.6
8 Grown-Ups $4,500,000 $150.7
9 Sorcerer’s Apprentice $4,320,000 $51.8
10 Twilight: Eclipse $3,965,000 $288.1

Inception-movie-imageEven after 17 days in theatres, the buzz surrounding Christopher Nolan’s Inception is still potent enough to put it on top for a third weekend in a row – only the second feature this summer to pull that off after Shrek Forever After. The difference between those accomplishments, however, is noteworthy.

Though the two are running more or less even at their respective three week marks, Shrek 3 had many things going for it that Inception lacks: Shrek was a franchise star; he had the benefit of higher 3D ticket prices plus a holiday weekend to exploit during his reign. All of Inception’s cash has come the old fashioned way. The fact that it has so far managed to outpace tentpole properties is a testament to the repeat business – at 2D prices – that Nolan has inspired.

Dinner for Schmucks can’t hope to inspire much more than awkward laughter, so we can reasonably assume that repeat business is not in this film’s future. Jay Roach’s take on the French film The Dinner Game ended up in second for the weekend with $23.3 million from 2,911 locations. That is somewhere between Steve Carrell’s last live-action feature Date Night and last summer’s Funny People – in terms of the debut weekend comedy continuum. At the moment, reviews for Schmucks are right down the middle so expect the film to earn about what it cost to make – $60 million give or take.

Now in its second week, Angelina Jolie’s Salt is easily on track to top $100 million. Sony’s spy-thriller dropped an estimated 47% to earn $19.3 million – good enough for third place. The real surprise is the film sitting at number four, however. Now in its fourth weekend, Despicable Me – that other Steve Carell movie just keeps bringing in audiences – even after losing a significant number of 3D screens this week to Cats & Dogs 2. At this point Universal’s thrifty toon should break $200 million by next weekend.

Speaking of Cats & Dogs 2; the film with the widest release of the week could only manage a weak $12.5 million from its debut. Despite higher 3D ticket prices in many of the film’s 3,700 locations, the Warner Brothers sequel could not drum up enough excitement to even top what the original made back in 2001 – and that’s before adjusting for inflation.

Finally, after coming in fourth on Friday, Zac Efron’s Charlie St. Cloud fell to sixth place for the weekend. The melodrama from Universal looked like it might take in $15 million in its first three days but estimates now put the film at just $12.1 million from 2,720 dates. That’s roughly half what Efron saw from his last major feature, 17 Again – a comedy. Even in terms of dramatic love stories, Charlie St. Cloud fared poorly – certainly worse than Miley Cyrus’ The Last Song. The only good news for Efron stalwarts? That $12.1 million beats the hell out of the $8 million Robert Pattinson brought in for Remember Me.

Next week the wait is over! Step-Up 3D is here… and don’t tell me you’re not excited. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are also back in Adam McKay’s The Other Guys. That’d probably make a half-decent second choice in the inevitable event that Step-Up 3 is sold out…

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