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Christopher Nolan continued his critical winning streak with Inception, a film that enjoyed both positive reviews and commercial success. The esoteric heist thriller bowed slightly lower than first predicted, but easily won the weekend with $62 million. It was a personal best for Leonardo DiCaprio whose last big open was directed by legendary director Martin Scorcese. Shutter Island, a psychological thriller (incidentally with a questionable ending), opened to $41 million in February.
The other new opener, fantasy adventure The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, puttered in at $17.6 million giving it a third place position. It had a head start on Inception, opening on Wednesday, but no illusions could help the hapless magic movie as it only made $24 million in five days. This is the second bomb for Jerry Bruckheimer, a prolific producer with plenty of blockbusters under his belt. Prince of Persia also fell below expectations earlier this year grossing only $89 million domestically after a $30 million opening weekend.
Despicable Me continued its dominion, making mincemeat of forecasts. The original animated feature opened at number two with an additional $32 million. Its total haul is $118 million covering its relatively small production budget and trumping a kid’s picture with a bigger bank book and director. The Last Airbender, holds at seventh place with $115 million total.
It was a weekend of some notable statistics. Business was up nine percent over last year and Inception drew stronger attendance than The Matrix, another mindbender that shook up Tinseltown some years ago. The movie was also ranked second in highest grosses for a sci-fi original picture by Box Office Mojo. On the opposite end of the spectrum Predators sunk like the Titanic (the boat not the blockbuster). It experienced the sharpest decline this year, dropping 73 percent from week to week. Still, it holds $40 million in its account, a fourth place position for the Predator franchise.
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Both new films next week, the spy thriller Salt with Angelina Jolie and the family film Ramona and Beezus, will have to contend with strong holdovers Inception and Despicable Me. Nolan made his film so cleverly complex that repeat viewing may boost strong second week sales. Despicable Me is simply blowing away all projections with its appeal to family audiences. Thus, both new entries this week may suffer from attracting virtually the same audiences as their predecessors this week; single adults looking to see action and parents and children wanting to see clean family fare.