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Dinner is Inviting, but Inception Owns Top Spot

August 2nd, 2010

It was a mixed bag this weekend with no film taking the box office by surprise. However, no film truly bombed either, so at least there is good news there. The overall box office was $145 million over the weekend, down 11% from last weekend, but more importantly up 15% from the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2010 has now earned $6.72 billion compared to 2009's running tally of $6.42 billion. Ticket sales are still lagging behind last year's pace, but by less than 1%.

For the third weekend in a row, Inception led the way at the box office. This time it was down just 36% to $27.49 million over the weekend for a total of $193.31 million after three. By Tuesday it will become the seventh film of 2010 to reach $200 million, while shortly afterward it will overtake How to Train Your Dragon on the yearly chart. The final box office figure for this film should be at least $250 million, and it should perform even better on the international stage.

Dinner for Schmucks was the top dog as far as new releases go, earning second place with $23.53 million in just under 3,000 theaters for the best per theater average of any wide release this weekend. Its reviews just managed to hold 50% positive, so I'm not expecting great legs and its international appeal is probably quite limited. That said, it should match its production budget domestically and earn a profit sometime during its home market run.

Salt came within a rounding error of expectations with $19.47 million over the weekend for a total of $71.03 million after two. At this pace, it should have no trouble getting to $100 million, even if it has to wait at least another week to get there.

Despite direct competition, Despicable Me grabbed fourth place with $15.52 million over the weekend for a total of $190.33 million after four. At this point, reaching $200 million will be a trivial matter, while it should have little trouble overtaking How to Train Your Dragon on the yearly chart before it is finished.

Charlie St. Cloud just managed to grab a spot in the top five with $12.38 million in 2,718 theaters. Its per theater average is adequate, but really nothing more. Its reviews did recover over the weekend, but with a Tomatometer Score of just 26% positive, it is unlikely to win many awards and even its target demographic might tire of it shortly. On the other hand, it probably didn't cost too much to make, so it should see a profit sooner rather than later.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore was not as lucky, as the sequel to 2001's Cats & Dogs struggled at the box office. Despite opening in more than 3,700 theaters, it only managed sixth place with $12.28 million. Its per theater average wasn't tragic, but it certainly isn't enough to get theater owners excited about keeping the film any longer than they are contractually obligated to, while its reviews suggest its target demographic will be more likely to check out Despicable Me for the third time or Toy Story 3 for the fifth time than watch this film again.

Moving onto the sophomore class, we find Ramona and Beezus sitting just outside the top ten with $3.71 million over the past three days for a total of $16.38 million after ten. I'm more than a little surprised the film did this poorly, especially given its reviews and its better than expected midweek numbers. Hopefully it will find a more receptive audience on the home market.

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Filed under: Inception, Ramona and Beezus, Despicable Me, Salt, Dinner for Schmucks, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Charlie St. Cloud