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Strong Inception Hold Keeps Summer Alive

July 26th, 2010

While neither of the two new releases exactly earned blockbuster level openings, Inception made up for this by topping nearly everyone's high end expectations. This helped the overall box office reach still summer-like proportions at $162 million. Granted, this was down 9% from last weekend, but more importantly, it's up 7% from last year. Year-to-date, 2010 has earned $6.49 billion compared to $6.21 billion for 2009, while ticket sales are still down 2%.

It turns out the race for top spot was a little more one-sided than expected with Inception remaining as champion with $42.73 million over the weekend. This was down a hair less than 32% from its opening and lifted its running tally to $142.88 million. Given its reviews and the obvious replay value of the story, it will surely stick around long enough to reach $200 million domestically, while $250 million isn't out of the question. This is much less than Christopher Nolan's previous film made, but that hardly a fair comparison. It is still a huge success and will lift his career average somewhat. Speaking of his career, his lifetime box office reached $1 billion over the weekend. Quite an achievement.

Salt's opening was on the high end of expectations at $36.01 million, giving it a solid second place finish. Compared to past Angelia Jolie action flicks, this is well below Wanted or Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and even the original Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which came out nearly a decade ago. With reviews that are good, but not great, it could have enough legs to reach $100 million at the box office. Reports vary with regards to its production budget with $75 million on the low end and $110 million on the high end. So depending on how much it cost to make and advertise, and how much it earns internationally, it should break even early in its home market run, more or less.

Despicable Me continues to show legs, down a mere 28% to $23.69 million over the weekend for a total of $161.29 million after three. At this rate, $200 million is practically guaranteed, which would make it the first $200 million hit for Universal since The Bourne Ultimatum. In fact, this film could eventually top Bourne at the box office, making it the biggest hit for the studio since Meet the Fockers was released more more than 5 years ago.

Thanks to a slightly better than expected hold and weaker than expected competition, The Sorcerer's Apprentice was able to grab fourth place with $9.65 million. However, it has still only made $42.61 million after 12 days of release, which is a disaster for a film that cost more than $200 million to make and market. Disney will want to forget about this one, and fast.

At least Disney still has a winner, as Toy Story 3 had the best week-to-week drop-off in the top five, down just over 25% to $8.92 million over the weekend. Its running tally is now $379.42 million and it is rapidly closing in on $400 million in total. It might top Avatar in the 2010 calendar year, but since that film is getting a re-release next month, this victory could be short-lived.

Just missing the top five during its debut was Ramona and Beezus with just $7.81 million. Given its reviews, it might have good legs at the box office thanks to positive word-of-mouth. However, given its per theater average, it might not stick around long enough for the word-of-mouth to matter. With a reported $15 million production budget, it might show a profit on the home market.


Filed under: Inception, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Ramona and Beezus, Despicable Me, Salt, Toy Story 3