BOX OFFICE BEAT DOWN: ‘Inception’ Sleepwalks Its Way to $60.4 Million

Disney's "Apprentice" is only able to conjure its way to third place.
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$60.4 millionInception
456 reviews
323 reviews
$32.7 millionDespicable Me
173 reviews
192 reviews
$17.3 millionThe Sorcerer's Apprentice
161 reviews
165 reviews
$13.5 millionThe Twilight Saga: Eclipse
291 reviews
233 reviews
$11.7 millionToy Story 3
289 reviews
285 reviews
$10 millionGrown Ups
153 reviews
162 reviews
$7.4 millionThe Last Airbender
252 reviews
182 reviews
$6.8 millionPredators
211 reviews
189 reviews
$3.7 millionKnight and Day
141 reviews
218 reviews

Last week saw the third installment of the phenomenally popular Twilight film series, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, dropped nearly 50% after only ten days at the box office. This allowed Universal's new animated family film, Despicable Me to sweep in and take the top spot last week earning an impressive $60.1 million in its debut. But the animated film had its hands full this weekend defending its position from the new competition, which included director Christopher Nolan's long-awaited film Inception and Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice starring Nicolas Cage.

In fact, debuting at first place this weekend at the box office was Inception, the long awaited sci-fi action thriller from director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight). The film stars an incredible cast of actors including Oscar nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Ken Watanabe, Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine, as well as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Lukas Haas. The film was seen on 3,792 screens and earned roughly $15,928 on each for an opening weekend total of $60.4 million. But the film still has a ways to go if it wants to earn back its $160 million production cost.

Falling one place back from last week to number two is Universal's new animated film Despicable Me. The film, which centers around the world's greatest villain taking on the new challenge of raising three adorable little orphan girls, boasts an all-star cast of comedic voices including Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Julie Andrews, Danny McBride and Ken Jeong. The film dropped over 40% from last week but managed to pick up twenty-five theaters. The film was seen on 3,501 screens all together and earned roughly $4,958 on each for a weekend total of $32.7 million. The movie has now earned about $118 million in just two weeks of release surpassing its $69 million production costs.

Debuting at number three this week is Walt Disney Pictures' The Sorcerer's Apprentice, from super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The film is an updated version of the famous Mickey Mouse segment from the classic Disney animated film, Fantasia, and stars Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder, How To Train Your Dragon), Teresa Palmer (Bedtime Stories), Toby Kebbell (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2) and Monica Bellucci (Shoot 'Em Up). The film, which got a head start by opening on Wednesday has made about $24.4 million since its release but only earned roughly $17.3 million over the weekend. The film was seen on 3,504 screens and made about $4,958 on each. But the film still has a far way to go if it hopes to earn back its $150 million production costs.

Dropping two places from last week to number four is The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, (Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning and Bryce Dallas Howard. The film dropped another 57.4% this week and was actually seen in 467 less theaters than the week before. It earned around $4,958 on each of its 3,504 screens for a weekend total of around $13.5 million. The film has now grossed an impressive $264 million in just 3 weeks of release, which far surpasses it's purported $68 million production cost.

Finally, rounding off the top five this week and falling one place back from last week is the third chapter of the extremely successful Pixar series, Toy Story 3. The film features the return of Woody, Buzz and all your favorite toys along with an all-star cast of voice actors, which include Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Jodi Benson, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Ned Beatty, Timothy Dalton, Jeff Garlin, Kristen Schaal and Whoopi Goldberg. The film dropped nearly 44.1% from last week and was seen on 576 less theaters than the week before, earning about $3,696 on each of its 3,177 screens. The film earned an additional $11.7 million this weekend, bringing it's total gross to amazing $362 million in just five weeks of release, which far surpasses it's purported production cost of $200 million.

Continuing to do all right in limited release is the new independent film from acclaimed filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon) entitled The Kids Are All Right. The film is about a happy lesbian couple raising two teen-age kids who finally decide that they would like to meet their biological father. The movie stars a fantastic cast of critically acclaimed actors including Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland). Thanks in part to good reviews and good word of mouth the film managed to rise an astonishing 108.8% from its debut week and added thirty-one new theaters. The film earned $27,026 on each of its 38 screens for a weekend total of around $1 million. The movie has now earned $1.7 million in just two weeks of release, which is almost half of it's purported $4 million production cost.

Also doing well in limited release is the new Irish film Kisses. The movie opened on only two screens but managed to earn $7,300 on each for a weekend total of $14,600.

Next week will see the opening of one new film in wide release and two in limited release. First up and opening in wide release is Salt, the CIA espionage movie starring international superstar-actress Angelina Jolie. In the film, Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent accused of being a Russian sleeper spy who must go on the run in order to clear her name. The film also stars Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (2012).

Opening in limited release is Life During Wartime, writer/director Todd Solondz's part sequel/part variation on his acclaimed film Happiness. The film stars an eclectic cast of actors, which includes Allison Janney, Ciarán Hinds, Michael Lerner and Paul Reubens.

Also in limited release next week is Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, a documentary that chronicles the life and times of legendary Playboy Magazine publisher Hugh Hefner. So please check back in seven days to see who comes out on top at the box office next week!

Inception was released July 16th, 2010.

Despicable Me was released July 9th, 2010.

Sources: Jami Philbrick

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