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Posted at 9:10 AM ET, 08/ 2/2010

Weekend box office: 'Inception' remains unstoppable

By Jen Chaney

"Inception": still invading dreams and topping the box office. (Warner Bros.)

The most intellectually challenging blockbuster of the summer movie season is No. 1 for the third week in a row. "Inception" won the weekend box office with $27.5 million, outdoing all newcomers -- including second-place finisher "Dinner For Schmucks" -- and Angelina Jolie's "Salt."

For the breakdown on all the weekend box office winners and losers, including a disappointing performance for talking animals with suggestive names, read on.

"Inception" opened with strong buzz and has maintained it, continuing to attract the newly intrigued and, presumably, some repeat customers still trying to put together all the cerebral puzzle pieces in Christopher Nolan's latest. The film has now earned $193 million in North America, putting it in seventh place for the year so far, a ranking that's sure to improve.

"Dinner for Schmucks" opened solidly in second place with $23.3 million, which, as Box Office Mojo notes, marks Paul Rudd's strongest opening in a leading man role. "Salt" fell to third place with $19.2 million. The Angelina Jolie spy thriller has earned a total of $70.8 million in North America; add foreign grosses to that tally and the film passes beyond the $100 million line.

The weekend's other two newcomers didn't fare quite as well as "Schmucks." "Cats & Dogs: The Return of Kitty Galore" earned $12.5 million and landed in fifth place, but cost roughly $85 million to make. So the CGI family flick still has a ways to go to recoup its cash. (I know. It's hard to believe this required so much spending.) Zac Efron's "Charlie St. Cloud" ran close behind "Kitty" with $12.1 million, but ticket sales dropped by 32 percent from Friday to Saturday. Not a great sign. Also, in news that will surprise no one, 79 percent of the audience for the weepy "Cloud" was reportedly female.

On the indie side, "The Kids Are All Right" continues to do more than all right; it brought in $3.4 million in just 847 theaters and has now collected $9.5 million. In just four movie houses, Robert Duvall's "Get Low" also did decent business, earning $90,900 with a high per-screen average of $22,725.

Now we look to next weekend. Can "Inception" stay at the top? Or will Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in "The Other Guys" be its undoing? Predict next weekend's box office results via the poll below.

By Jen Chaney  | August 2, 2010; 9:10 AM ET
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  | Tags:  Box office  
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