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'Inception' Box Office: Unlikely Summer Blockbuster

July 19, '10, update

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Inception
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Inception

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, and Michael Caine, Christopher Nolan's sci-fi/thriller Inception performed above expectations this past weekend according to box office actuals found at Box Office Mojo.

Thanks to a considerably lower than expected Sunday attendance drop, Inception grossed $2 million more than Warner Bros. estimated: $62.78 million (including Thursday midnight screenings), for a per-theater average of $16,557.

The earnings of the remaining top twelve movies were pretty close to studio estimates.

Last weekend's box office champion, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's Despicable Me, featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Julie Andrews, was the no. 2 movie with $32.8 million.

At no. 3, Jon Turteltaub's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel, took in $17.61 million.

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse grossed $13.42 million at no. 4.

At no. 5, Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3, featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack, brought in $11.99 million.

Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and Rob Schneider's comedy Grown Ups earned $9.9 million at no. 6.

At no. 7, M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, starring Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Nicola Peltz, and Shaun Toub, scored $7.75 million.

Next in line was Nimród Antal's Predators, starring Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, and Laurence Fishburne, with $7.01 million.

Rounding out the top twelve were Tom Cruise's Knight and Day with $3.6 million, Jackie Chan's The Karate Kid with $2.28 million, Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass' Cyrus with $1.09 million, Julianne Moore's The Kids Are All Right with $1.06 million.

Among the top twelve movies, The Kids Are All Right had by far the highest per-theater average, $28,009. At only 38 locations Lisa Cholodenko's family comedy-drama earned nearly as much as the Duplass brothers' quirky comedy Cyrus at 440 sites.

Inception had the weekend's second best per-theater average, $16,557 at 3,792 sites. The Karate Kid had the lowest, $1,494.

Also among the top twelve, The Kids Are All Right had the most impressive surge, up 116.3 percent, after going from 7 to 38 theaters. Predators has the steepest drop-off rate, down 71.7 percent.

Photo: Inception (Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.)

July 18 update

Nicolas Cage, Monica Bellucci, The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Inception (top); Nicolas Cage, Monica Bellucci in Jon Turteltaub's The Sorcerer's Apprentice (middle); Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner in David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (bottom)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Nolan's sci-fi/thriller Inception topped the North American box office this weekend, grossing $60.4 million according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

The above figure includes about $3 million from Thursday midnight screenings. The weekend total was at the lower end of estimates – Saturday business barely picked up in relation to Friday – which had the $160 million production opening to $60m-$65 million.

Nolan's first release since the megablockbuster The Dark Night, Inception co-stars Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Berenger, Ken Watanabe, and Michael Caine.

Last weekend's box office champion, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's Despicable Me, was the no. 2 movie, taking in a solid $32.7 million.

The fantasy adventure featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Julie Andrews, and others crossed the $100 million milestone on Saturday. Its total gross currently stands at an estimated $118.36 million. (Cost: $69m.)

At no. 3, Jon Turteltaub's poorly received The Sorcerer's Apprentice, starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel, scored $17.37 million. Thanks to a Saturday attendance surge, the Jerry Bruckheimer/Disney release almost matched the studio's (modest) expectations for the film's first five days out ($25 million), taking in a total of $24.4 million.

For comparison's sake: another poorly received fantasy, the Dwayne Johnson vehicle Tooth Fairy (which opened on a Friday), debuted with $14 million last January. It went on to gross $60 million domestically.

Clearly, there's no way The Sorcerer's Apprentice will recover its $150 million price tag at the domestic box office. With some luck it'll reach half that amount – which means Disney will collect about $35 million in North America. (Studios get about 50-55 percent of a film's domestic box office gross.)

Down two spots from Thursday after losing 400 theaters (including nearly all IMAX venues), Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was down 57.1 percent, taking in an estimated $13.5 million. Total: $264.9 million. Cost: $68 million.

Directed by David Slade, Eclipse is one of those rare productions that have been long in the black solely as a result of its domestic box office receipts.

At no. 5, Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3, featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack, pulled in $11.74 million. Total: $362.7 million. Cost: $200 million.

Photo: Inception (Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.); The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Disney Enterprises); The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit Entertainment)

July 17 evening update:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception, Christopher Nolan
Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception

As expected, Christopher Nolan's sci-fi/thriller Inception topped the U.S. and Canada box office on Friday, July 16, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Berenger, Ken Watanabe, and Michael Caine, Inception grossed an estimated $21.64 million on Friday (including about $3 million from Thursday midnight screenings).

Weekend expectations for Nolan's film have been hovering around $60m-$65 million.

Former box office champion Despicable Me was the no. 2 movie, earning a solid $10.05 million. The fantasy adventure crossed the $100 million milestone some time today.

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, Despicable Me features the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Julie Andrews, Miranda Cosgrove, and others.

At no. 3, the poorly received Jerry Bruckheimer/Disney release The Sorcerer's Apprentice took in $5.4 million. The film's total after three days is $12.4 million, which makes it unlikely Sorcerer will reach $25 million by late Sunday as some had predicted.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub, The Sorcerer's Apprentice stars Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, and Teresa Palmer.

Down two spots from Thursday after losing 400 theaters (including nearly all IMAX venues), Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, collected $4.5 million at no. 4.

At no. 5, Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3, featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack, scored $3.42 million.

Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right

Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and Rob Schneider's Grown Ups pulled in $3.1 million at no. 6.

At no. 7, M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, starring Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Nicola Peltz, and Shaun Toub, brought in $2.21 million.

Next in line was Nimród Antal's Predators, starring Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, and Laurence Fishburne, with $2.15 million.

Rounding out the top twelve were Tom Cruise's Knight and Day with $1.12 million, Jackie Chan's The Karate Kid with $640,000, Marisa Tomei's Cyrus with $305k and Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right with $283,000.

Starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hutcherson, and Mia Wasikowska, Focus Features' The Kids Are All Right expanded from 7 to 38 locations on Friday. Its inclusion among the top twelve is quite remarkable.

In fact, among those The Kids Are All Right had the highest per-theater average, $7,447. It was followed by Inception with $5,708 at 3,792 sites. The Karate Kid had the lowest, $418.

Also among the top twelve, The Kids Are All Right had – as to be expected – the biggest Thursday-to-Friday surge, up 360.5 percent. Cyrus, which expanded to 446 theaters, followed suit with up 156.4 percent.

The Karate Kid, now at 1,532 locations, had the smallest increase, up 13.9 percent.

Photo: Inception(Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.)

July 17 early morning

Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's Despicable Me, featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Julie Andrews, Miranda Cosgrove, and others, was the no. 1 movie at the North American box office on Thursday, July 15. That may well have been its last time at the top, as Christopher Nolan's Inception opened today to solid business.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Berenger, Ken Watanabe, and Michael Caine, Inception grossed an estimated $18m-$20 million on Friday according to Deadline.com. That amount includes about $3 million from Thursday midnight screenings.

Weekend expectations for Nolan's generally well-received sci-fi/thriller have been hovering around $60m-$65 million.

On Thursday, Despicable Me topped the chart with $6.39 million according to Box Office Mojo.

It was followed by Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, back at no. 2 with $3.43 million on Thursday and $251.3 million total.

Down one spot at no. 3, the poorly received The Sorcerer's Apprentice earned $3.21 million – down a significant 17 percent from the day before. The Disney release fell below the $1,000-per-day average ($950 at 3,385 sites) on its second day out.

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Jon Turteltaub, The Sorcerer's Apprentice stars Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, and Teresa Palmer.

With $2.51 million, the no. 4 movie was Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3, which has crossed the $350 million milestone at the domestic box office. The animated 3D feature's total currently stands at $350.9 million.

At no. 5, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and Rob Schneider's Grown Ups collected $1.86 million.

At no. 6, Nimród Antal's Predators, starring Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, and Laurence Fishburne, pulled in $1.67 million.

Next in line was M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, starring Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Nicola Peltz, and Shaun Toub, with $1.57 million.

The Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz spy caper Knight and Day earned $801k at no. 8, followed by the Jackie Chan-Jaden Smith vehicle The Karate Kid with $562,000.

Rounding out the top eleven were Bradley Cooper's The A-Team with $161k and Jonah Hill's Cyrus with $120,000.

Among the top eleven movies, Despicable Me had the highest per-theater average, $1,840 (below the $2,000 per-theater mark on its seventh day out). The A-Team had the lowest, $203.

Ten of the top eleven movies at the North American box office were down on Thursday. The one exception was The A-Team, which managed to gross nearly $1,000 more than on Wednesday (a microscopic up 0.6 percent). Cyrus had the worst drop-off rate, down 18.5 percent, followed by The Sorcerer's Apprentice's down 17 percent.

Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hutcherson, and Mia Wasikowska, grossed $61,000 at 7 locations.

Among the films listed on Box Office Mojo's Thursday chart, The Kids Are All Right once again had by far the highest per-theater average: $8,778.

Photo: Universal Pictures

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