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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 07/19/2010

Weekend box office: 'Inception' is No. 1

By Jen Chaney

"Inception" gets a very positive box office reception. (Warner Bros.)

Christopher Nolan's "Inception" blew our minds and became the No. 1 movie in North America over the weekend, proving that sometimes intellectually challenging films actually translate into dollar signs. The film opened with $60.4 million, making it the strongest opening weekend in Leonardo DiCaprio's career so far.

More details on the weekend box office, including a less than stellar showing for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," can be found below.

"Inception's" $60.4 million exceeded expectations. According to the New York Times, audience-tracking surveys indicated the film would bring in close to $40 million. But with all the positive reviews and the buzz factor behind it, that $60 mil shouldn't be all that shocking.

In addition to the new financial benchmark that number sets for Leonardo DiCaprio, "Inception" also stands as the second biggest opening of Christopher Nolan's career, right behind "The Dark Knight." ("Batman Begins" opened with only $48.7 million.) In other words, that guy won't be able to make his third Batman movie fast enough.

"Despicable Me" fell to second place, but don't feel too badly for those little minions. Their animated film soared past the $100 million mark in recent days, having collected $118.3 million so far.

Do feel free to take pity on the performance of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."; it earned $17.3 million over the weekend, and $24.4 million since its Wednesday debut. Not great considering its production budget added up to around $150 million.

Still doing semi-decent business: "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which has earned $264.9 million so far; "Toy Story 3," now well out in front as the top grosser of 2010 with $362.7 million; and Adam Sandler's "Grown-Ups," which can now claim a total of $129.2 million to its arrested-adolescent name.

And indies "Cyrus" (new cumulative total: $5.0 million) and "The Kids Are All Right," which earned a little over $1 million after screening in just 38 theaters this weekend, continue to bring in more than respectable business.

Looking to next week ... can "Inception" obsessives keep Nolan's drama in the top spot with repeat viewings? Or will Angelina Jolie's "Salt" kick it into second? Make your prediction in our box office poll.

By Jen Chaney  | July 19, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  | Tags:  Box Office, Summer Movies  
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good to see a smart film like inception out-duel a disney schlockfest... (wait is shlockfest a word? i certainly dont want to infudiate Bob Iger --- or do i...)

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | July 19, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

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