Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Inception Retains the Top Spot

Plus, Salt performs well, while Ramona and Beezus debuts at #6

by | July 26, 2010 | Comments

This weekend, Warner Bros. enjoyed a sensational second weekend for its sci-fi thriller Inception which capitalized on amazing buzz to remain the most popular film in North America. Angelina Jolie’s new action pic Salt had to settle for second place but the spy thriller still generated a healthy opening. Like last weekend, funny films had the best holds while everything else dropped harder.

Declining by a slim 31%, Inception topped the charts once again with an estimated $43.5M rocketing its ten-day tally to a stellar $143.7M. It was the second lowest drop witnessed all year for a wide release in its sophomore frame and put the Leonardo DiCaprio hit on track to break the $250M mark and possibly the $300M barrier as well. Playing in 3,792 theaters, including 197 IMAX sites, the mind-bending film averaged a muscular $11,473 which was tops among all wide releases.

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Inception has an incredible road ahead of it. Word-of-mouth is amazing, repeat business is solid, competition over the coming weeks is not too fierce, and midweek sales have been enormous. It may even extend its streak to three weeks at number one. The hold was especially impressive given the arrival of another star-driven action thriller in Salt.

That Angelina Jolie starrer debuted well in the runner-up spot with an estimated $36.5M from 3,612 locations for a meaty $10,105 average. The Sony espionage thriller about a CIA agent on the run when suspected of being a Russian secret agent played to an adult audience and had cross-gender appeal. Studio research showed that 53% of the crowd was female and 59% was over 25. Reviews were mixed and moviegoers responded to the starpower of the lead and the promise of action and stunts. Unlike Inception, Salt featured very few special effects.

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The media gave extensive coverage to the fact that Tom Cruise passed on doing the film and opted for another spy flick, Knight and Day, instead. But paying customers were more excited by Jolie as Salt grossed more in its first 3 days than Knight did in its first 9 days. Cruise’s latest project is set to end its domestic run with less than $80M while Salt stands a great chance of breaking $100M.

Audience favorite Despicable Me held up remarkably well in its third frame sliding only 27% to an estimated $24.1M boosting the 17-day total to a stunning $161.7M. Universal’s highest-grossing film in three years, the 3D toon is well on its way to reaching at least $225M and could go even higher as competition in the coming weeks is not too strong for its target audience.

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Disney’s big-budget misfire The Sorcerer’s Apprentice fell to fourth place with an estimated $9.7M failing to break double-digit millions in its second weekend in theaters. With only $42.6M in 12 days, the effects-driven Nicolas Cage action title looks to reach $70-80M which would be only half of its production cost.

Giving the Mouse House better news was Toy Story 3 which still had good legs dipping only 25% to an estimated $9M in its sixth round. The 3D toon has banked $379.5M rising to number 12 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters behind the $380.3M of 2005’s Star Wars Episode III. The $400M barrier will come crashing down in August.

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Fox bowed its new girl pic Ramona and Beezus in sixth place with a quiet $8M, according to estimates. The G-rated film based on the popular children’s books by author Beverly Cleary averaged a mild $2,942 from 2,719 theaters and played mostly to young girls and their moms. The low cost $15M production attracted an audience that was 69% family and 75% female. Reviews were generally upbeat.

Sony’s Grown Ups followed in seventh with an estimated $7.6M, down 23%, pushing the total to $142.4M. Off 46% in its fourth weekend was The Twilight Saga: Eclipse with an estimated $7M boosting the cume to $279.7M. That puts the newest vampire pic at number 45 on the all-time list ahead of 2004’s Meet the Fockers which grossed $279.2M.

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Rounding out the top ten were action movies aimed at two different age groups of males. The PG-rated The Last Airbender grossed an estimated $4.2M, down 46%, for a $123.3M total. Paramount’s franchise hopeful ranks as M. Night Shyamalan’s third biggest hit ever trailing The Sixth Sense and Signs which still hold career highs for Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson, respectively, as actors. Fox’s ultraviolent Predators fell 59% to an estimated $2.9M putting the sci-fi pic at $46.6M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $152.5M which was up 10% from last year when G-Force opened in the top spot with $31.7M; but down 11% from 2008 when The Dark Knight remained at number one with $75.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

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