Weeeknd Box Office – INCEPTION Stays on Top; SALT Opens a Strong Second with $36.5 Million

     July 25, 2010

Inception continued to dominate the box office in its second weekend, earning an estimated $43.5 million from its 3,792 locations. That is a loss of only 31% over last weekend; an amazing hold attributable to the great word of mouth and repeat business Inception is inspiring. Angelina Jolie’s spy-thriller Salt placed second with an estimated $36.5 million, making this, arguably, the first week of the summer when two adult-skewing features have led the domestic box office.

Title Weekend Total
1 Inception $43,500,000 $143.7
2 Salt $36,500,000 $36.5
3 Despicable Me $24,100,000 $161.7
4 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice $9,685,000 $42.6
5 Toy Story 3 $9,000,000 $379.5
6 Ramona & Beezus $8,000,000 $8
7 Grown-Ups $7,600,000 $142.4
8 Twilight Saga: Eclipse $7,030,000 $279.6
9 Last Airbender $4,170,000 $123.2
10 Predators $2,850,000 $46.5

Inception-movie-imageChristopher Nolan fans were always going to turn out for Inception. The question was whether the film’s tricky plot could entice the average American moviegoer beyond its first weekend. The answer is, yes. Yes it could. And in a big way. After taking only seven days to cross the $100 million mark (It took Shrek Forever After 8 to achieve that total; and that was with the added 3D ticket prices at many of its venues) Inception continued to average around $9 million per day throughout the week. That is well above what the more-accessible Despicable Me achieved after its first weekend and stands as a testament to the talents of Christopher Nolan and the smart marketing of Warner Brothers.

Speaking of smart marketing – Salt, this weekend’s number two film, managed to take a genre that has struggled over the past year and turn it into what looks to be a solid hit for Sony. Its secret weapon? Angelina Jolie. From the morning shows on down, Jolie has gone the extra mile to promote her latest action role – including her supposed invite for real-life Russian spy Anna Chapman to attend the Moscow premiere. So far reviews for the film have been mixed, but with a lack of anything resembling competition due out in the next weeks, Salt should easily make it past $100 million in the coming weeks.

The week’s other new release has no such hope, which is not to say that Ramona & Beezus is a bomb. Far from it. The adaptation of the beloved book eries by Beverly Cleary took in an estimated $8 million from 2,719 locations – a bit below the $10 million that was projected earlier this week. For a G-rated, 2D film released into a pack of family-friendly heavy-hitters, however, that’s not so bad. And when you factor in that $15 million price-tag for Ramona & Beezus, that weekend total looks better and better.

As for those other family films – Despicable Me continued to show great legs on its third weekend, coming in at number three with an estimated $24.1 million. That is a drop of only 26% over last weekend. The film with the $69 million price-tag has, to-date, earned over $161 million. Get used to seeing a lot more of those minions, in other words.

Meanwhile, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice also enjoyed a nice hold this weekend, falling 45% to take in an estimated at $9.6 million. That’s not nearly enough to make up for the film’s pitiful debut one week ago, but at least it’s something.

Next weekend the summer of 2010 begins to wind down with three new releases, none destined for anything close to blockbuster status: Dinner for Schmucks, Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore and the Zac Efron melodrama Charlie St. Cloud. I’d like to say that Schmucks, with its all-star cast, will be the breakout among the three but that Cats & Dogs sequel has a distinct theatre count advantage. American audiences, for reasons that remain mysterious, cannot seem to resist the talking animal genre…

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