‘Inception’ meaning? Blockbuster as Christopher Nolan thriller/sci-fier is only ‘original’ live-action movie to pass $200 million milestone so far this year
Aug. 6 update: Inception, the current no. 1 movie at the North American box office, crossed the $200 million milestone on Tuesday, Aug. 3, its 19th day out. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Nolan’s thriller/sci-fier earned $4.12 million, for a domestic cume of $201.7 million.
Inception can now be found at no. 35 on Box Office Mojo’s chart (not adjusted for inflation or 3D/IMAX surcharges) of the fastest movies to reach $200 million at the U.S. and Canada box office. It’s sandwiched between Jay Roach’s lowbrow comedy Meet the Fockers (2004), starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, and Pixar/Disney’s animated Finding Nemo (2003).
Inception is only the seventh 2010 release to have passed the $200 million mark. It’s also the only original live-action movie (as in, not a sequel, not a remake, not based on a another property) to have achieved that feat.
Although the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg action comedy The Other Guys is expected to be the no. 1 movie on U.S. and Canadian screens this coming weekend, don’t be too surprised if Christopher Nolan’s sci-fier gives Ferrell, Wahlberg, et al. some tough competition later on.
Besides three-time Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, 1993; The Aviator, 2004; Blood Money, 2006), the Inception cast includes the following:
Best Actress Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, 2007).
Two-time Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986; The Cider House Rules, 1999).
Best Actress Oscar nominee Ellen Page (Juno, 2007).
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father, 1993).
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Tom Berenger (Platoon, 1986).
Tom Hardy. Ken Watanabe. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Dileep Rao. Cillian Murphy. Lukas Haas.
‘Despicable Me’ passes $200 million mark
Aug. 6, ’10, update: Despicable Me pulled in $2.3 million on Thursday, Aug. 5, thus passing the $200 million mark at the domestic box office on Day 28. Total to date: $200,003,985.
Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin’s animated feature is only the eighth 2010 release to pass that milestone, two days after Inception. It’s also Universal’s sole bright spot of the year, following disappointments and downright disasters such as The Wolfman, Robin Hood, Repo Men, Leap Year, Green Zone, and last week’s release Charlie St. Cloud.
Domestic box office: ‘Inception’ passes $150 million milestone
July 28 update: Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, among others, Christopher Nolan’s well-received sci-fi/thriller Inception was the no. 1 movie at the North American box office on Tuesday, July 27, ’10.
According to Box Office Mojo, in addition to boasting the highest per-theater average among the top twelve movies on the domestic box office chart – $1,600 (same as yesterday) – Inception, on its 12th day out, also managed to pass the $150 million milestone it had failed to reach on Monday.
Inception is no. 41 on Box Office Mojo’s all-time domestic chart (not adjusted for inflation or 3D/IMAX surcharges) of the fastest movies to reach $150 million domestically, sandwiched between Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and Andrew Stanton and co-director Lee Unkrich’s Finding Nemo (2003).
$150 million in 12 days or less
The other 2010 releases to have passed the $150 million mark in 12 days or less are:
- David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Cast: Kristen Stewart. Robert Pattinson. Taylor Lautner. Bryce Dallas Howard. Xavier Samuel.
- Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow. Scarlett Johansson. Don Cheadle. Mickey Rourke. Sam Rockwell.
- Lee Unkrich’s Toy Story 3.
Voice Cast: Tom Hanks. Tim Allen. Laurie Metcalf. Joan Cusack. Ned Beatty.
- Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
Cast: Mia Wasikowska. Johnny Depp. Anne Hathaway. Helena Bonham Carter.
- Mike Mitchell’s Shrek Forever After.
Voice Cast: Antonio Banderas. Cameron Diaz. Mike Myers. Eddie Murphy. Julie Andrews. Jon Hamm.
Among these, Inception is the only non-sequel original story.
Selena Gomez ‘Ramona and Beezus’ leads Tuesday box office bump
On Tuesday, July 27, most movies among the top twelve posted attendance gains in relation to Monday.
The Selena Gomez star vehicle Ramona and Beezus had the biggest surge, an impressive up 21 percent, though nearly every other movie posted double-digit gains. The exceptions were:
- The Angelina Jolie thriller Salt (up 6 percent).
- The Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson-Taylor Lautner romantic fantasy The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (up 7 percent).
- The Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz humorous thriller Knight and Day (also up 7 percent).
Inception‘s daily box office earnings remained basically unchanged. Nimród Antal’s horror thriller Predators was the only movie to go down (4 percent) on Tuesday.
Costly ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ to finally reach $50 million
Down two spots at no. 6, Jon Turteltaub’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel, scored $1.19 million (down 14 percent). The $150 million production will finally reach the $50 million mark sometime this coming weekend.
Next in line was David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, with $1.06 million (down 8 percent) at no. 7.
Eclipse may be able to remain above the $1 million-per-day mark on Thursday, but it will undoubtedly fall below it next week.
Inception tops second weekend in a row, Angelina Jolie Salt has strong debut
Monday, July 26: Inception was the no. 1 movie at the North American box office for the second weekend in a row – but earned about $750,000 less than studio estimates – as per actuals released at Box Office Mojo.
The $160 million Warner Bros. release collected $42.72 million, down 32 percent from last weekend.
In second place was the Angelina Jolie star vehicle Salt, which opened with a solid $36 million ($500,000 less than estimated), or $9,970 average at 3,612 venues.
July 25 update: Christopher Nolan’s Inception topped the North American box office for the second weekend in a row, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger,and Michael Caine, Nolan’s critically acclaimed sci-fi/thriller pulled in $43.5 million.
The $160 millionWarner Bros. release was down only down 30.7 percent from last weekend. Total to date: $143.6 million.
Inception should cross the $150 million mark tomorrow, its 11th day out. It’ll possibly hit the $200 million mark sometime next weekend; else, it’ll reach that milestone early the following week.
In second place, the Phillip Noyce-directed Angelina Jolie $110 million vehicle Salt debuted with a solid $36.5 million, or $10,105 average at 3,612 venues. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star.
Salt will surely hit the $100 million mark domestically, but considering its opening numbers it’s highly unlikely that the spy thriller will manage to recover its production costs at the U.S. and Canada box office, as it’d need to gross approximately $200 million.
If Salt follows the pattern of most action thrillers, it’ll be down by 50 percent of so by next weekend. In other words, the $200 million mark will remain quite distant.
And that’s why the international market exists. Or rather, the international market is the reason – or at least one of the chief reasons – for the existence of expensive Hollywood movies such as Salt.
Overall, the domestic box office was up 8 percent in relation to a year ago, when G-Force, The Ugly Truth and Orphan opened.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fier blockbuster Inception
July 23 update: According to figures found at Box Office Mojo, Christopher Nolan’s Inception was the no. 1 movie at the North American box office on Thursday, July 22.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine, Nolan’s sci-fi/thriller grossed $8.56 million (down 3.3 percent) on Day 7, thus lifting its cume a little bit above the $100 million milestone: $100.158,412, to be exact.
On Box Office Mojo’s “fastest to $100m” chart (not adjusted for inflation or 3D/IMAX surcharges), Inception is no. 49, right behind Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and before Bruce Almighty.
Nicolas Cage, Monica Bellucci in Jon Turteltaub’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
July 18 update: 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.)
Adam Sandler widely panned comedy doing well at domestic box office
The $80 million-budgeted Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups pulled in $10 million at no. 6. at the U.S. and Canada box office this weekend (July 16–18, ’10), according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Total to date: $129.25 million. Also in the cast: David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and Rob Schneider.
Internationally, Grown Ups brought in only $960,000 in eight territories this weekend. International total to date: $9.5 million.
At no. 7, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender collected $7.45 million. Total to date: $114.8 million. Cost: $150 million. Cast: Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Nicola Peltz, and Shaun Toub.
Next in line was Nimród Antal’s Predators with $6.8 million – down an alarming 72.5 percent from last weekend. Total to date: $40 million. Cost: $40 million. Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, and Laurence Fishburne.
Despite its relatively low price tag, there’s no chance Predators will be able to recover its production costs (never mind marketing and distribution expenses) at the domestic box office, as the film would need to earn $70-$80 million.
‘The Kids Are All Right’: Excellent per-screen average
Rounding out the top twelve were:
- Knight and Day with $3.7 million. Total to date: a not inconsiderable $69.2 million. Cost: An even less inconsiderable $117 million.
Cast: Tom Cruise. Cameron Diaz.
- The Karate Kid with $2.2 million. Total to date: $169.2 million. Cost: $40 million..
Cast: Jaden Smith. Jackie Chan.
- Cyrus with $1.07 million. Total to date: $5.06 million. Cost: $7 million..
Cast: Jonah Hill. John C. Reilly. Marisa Tomei. Catherine Keener.
- The Kids Are All Right with $1.02 million. Total to date: $1.77 million. Cost: $4 million..
Cast: Annette Bening. Julianne Moore. Mark Ruffalo. Josh Hutcherson. Mia Wasikowska.
Among the top twelve movies, The Kids Are All Right had by far the highest per-theater average, $27,026. At only 38 theaters, Lisa Cholodenko’s family comedy-drama earned nearly as much as Cyrus at 440 sites. (See also: Comparison: The Kids Are All Right vs. Brokeback Mountain.)
Inception had the weekend’s second best per-theater average, $15,928 at 3,792 sites. The Karate Kid had the lowest, $1,436.
Also among the top twelve, The Kids Are All Right had the most impressive surge, up 108.8 percent, after going from 7 to 38 theaters.
Cyrus, which expanded from 200 to 446 theaters, was actually down 16 percent, which shows that Jay and Mark Duplass’ quirky comedy does not seem all that appealing outside urban centers.
Predators suffered the steepest drop-off rate, down 73 percent. It was followed by The Karate Kid‘s 59 percent and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse‘s 57 percent.
Julianne Moore, Lisa Cholodenko, and Mia Wasikowska The Kids Are All Right image: Focus Features.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Inception.
‘Inception’ negative reviews, Christopher Nolan sci-fier to rule weekend
July 16 update: Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi/thriller Inception opens Friday. Initially hailed as a masterpiece, Inception has now received several negative reviews that have lowered its Rotten Tomatoes score down from near 100 percent to 83 percent. Among RT’s top critics, the score is even lower: 74 percent.
For comparison’s sake: The Dark Knight‘s overall score is 93 percent positive; 91 percent among top critics. Batman Begins got 84 percent overall; 60 percent among top critics. Memento got 92 percent overall; 94 percent among top critics.
Below are a few recent review snippets:
The trouble with Nolan’s film is that it pulls so many tricks and double bluffs that it is often hard to get your bearings. And so, like the movie’s characters, we are left to blunder blindly down the rabbit hole, labouring to tell the ceiling from the floor and wondering desperately, in the words of one protagonist, “just whose subconscious we’re in now, exactly”. Happily, in the case of Inception, getting lost is half the fun. Xan Brooks in The Guardian.
Welcome to the world of “Inception,” written and directed by the masterful Christopher Nolan, a tremendously exciting science-fiction thriller that’s as disturbing as it sounds. This is a popular entertainment with a knockout punch so intense and unnerving it’ll have you worrying if it’s safe to close your eyes at night. Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times.
It is more like a diverting reverie than a primal nightmare, something to be mused over rather than analyzed, something you may forget as soon as it’s over. Which is to say that the time — nearly two and a half hours — passes quickly and for the most part pleasantly, and that you see some things that are pretty amazing, and amazingly pretty … A. O. Scott, the New York Times.
The ambitious, phantasmagorical thriller from writer-director Christopher Nolan … proves more engaging to the mind and eyes than to the heart. There’s no real emotional payoff and, call me old-fashioned, but that’s what I’m looking for in a movie. Leah Rozen in TheWrap.
Oh, well. “Inception” may not be the ultimate trip, nor even the first “Matrix.” But Nolan’s filmmaking intelligence places him among our most persuasive contemporary fantasists. Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune.
Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi/thriller Inception will undoubtedly dominate the North American box office this weekend.
Pundits have been predicting somewhere between $65m-$70m, which is not bad at all for an action thriller a) aimed at adults b) that is not a sequel c) not featuring some comic book hero or other.
Anyhow, Inception better make at least that much, as its budget reportedly hovered around $200 million. Just don’t expect any The Dark Knight records to be broken.
‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’: Nicolas Cage Flops Again
July 15: Thanks to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice‘s highly disappointing debut, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud’s Despicable Me, featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Julie Andrews, Miranda Cosgrove, and others, was once again the no. 1 movie at the North American box office on Wednesday, July 14.
According to Box Office Mojo, Despicable Me grossed $7.15 million on a day when every holdover among the top ten suffered double-digit drops. In other words, my prediction that the U.S. and Canada box office would be busy on Wednesday was totally off the mark.
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Jon Turteltaub, and starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, and Teresa Palmer, the poorly received The Sorcerer’s Apprentice earned a soft $3.87 million on the no. 2 spot ($1,144 per theater).
It remains to be seen whether this Disney release will turn out to have strong legs like Tom Cruise’s Knight and Day, which opened three weeks ago to similar box office numbers but is still doing acceptable business.
If The Sorcerer’s Apprentice fails domestically, it’ll be the second Bruckheimer disappointment of the year, following the Jake Gyllenhaal vehicle Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
Selena Gomez Ramona and Beezus image: Fox 2000 Pictures.
Angelina Jolie Salt image: Andrew Schwartz / Columbia Pictures.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, and Marion Cotillard Inception images: Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.
Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel The Sorcerer’s Apprentice image: Bruckheimer / Disney Enterprises.