Inception tops the Weekend!

The mysterious and much-anticipated “Inception” from Warner Bros. tops the weekend box office chart as expected while Universal’s “Despicable Me” crosses the $100 million mark with a strong second weekend.

072226H1.jpgChristopher Nolan is a film director whose name is synonymous with smart, beautifully crafted films and big box office.  Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” which opened exactly two years ago posted the biggest opening weekend of all-time with $158.4 million in its first three days of release; a record that has yet to be broken and the film was also the top grossing film of 2008.  With $62.8 million this weekend, “Inception” gives star Leonardo DiCaprio his biggest debut ever, out-grossing the mid-February opening of “Shutter Island” and arguably makes the star the most consistently bankable among his peers.  Positive word-of-mouth is making its way around the social networking water-cooler and looks to assure strong on-going interest in the film.  

The IMAX screenings of “Inception” accounted for 12% of the weekend gross with an amazing $7 million in 197 locations: the best ever for an IMAX 2D title.  The fact that Nolan is a true believer when it comes to the cinematic and creative advantages of the giant screen technology is not at all lost on the audience for this film and they came out in major support of the film in this format.

At number two is Universal’s well-reviewed family animated favorite “Despicable Me” which crossed the $100 million mark in just nine days of release.  With the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel and Russell Brand the film was solid performer all week long and earned a strong $32.8 million this weekend against a minimal 42% drop.

Debuting in the third spot is Disney’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel and Alfred Molina opened last Wednesday with $3.9 million.  With $17.6 million for the weekend and $24.7 million since Wednesday, the PG-rated film joins “The Last Airbender” and “The Karate Kid” in the live-action family adventure club that has been so successful this summer.

Number four belongs to the top five mainstay that is Summit Entertainment’s “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”  Another $13.4 million in the blood bank puts it in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars in domestic revenue and further justifies the enormous $25 million paydays that await the three main stars for the next installment.

Of course no summer weekend would be truly satisfying without Disney’s “Toy Story 3” which becomes the highest grossing film of the year and the summer with an amazing $363.0 million total.  The Pixar film continues to please audiences across the board as it grabs another $12.0 million and continues its dominance of the summer box office.

The indie world is rockin’ with Fox Searchlight’s “Cyrus” coming in at number 11 with $1.093 million and “The Kids Are All Right” from Focus Features at number 12 with $1.065 million continuing to offer solid alternative programming to the typical summer blockbusters.   

Another great weekend vs. last year when Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” blew the doors off the box office.  With year-to-date revenues crossing the $6 billion mark and summer revenues holding their own against last year, we now head into the final six weeks of the summer with some much-needed vigor.  Next week look for Sony’s action entry starring “Salt” starring Angelina Jolie and Fox’s “Ramona and Beezus” based on the best-selling children’s books to hit theatres.