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July 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It didn’t come close to equaling director Christopher’s Nolan’s record-breaking opening of The Dark Knight exactly two years ago, but Nolan’s Inception debuted with a mighty $60.4 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates — without the aid of 3D premium pricing. (The film did have the benefit of IMAX surcharges, and although IMAX screens accounted for only 3 percent of the film’s total, they produced 12 percent of the gross.) No one had expected Inception to do the kind of business the Batman movie did in 2008 — $158.4 million, the most any film has ever earned on an opening weekend — and indeed some analysts expressed concerns that it departed so drastically from commercial formula that it might very well bomb, pointing out that it would likely find a particularly tough reception in America’s heartland. As it turned out, the movie did indeed see an average turnout in much of the country, but it played to sold-out houses elsewhere. Warner Bros. distribution chief Dan Fellman told the Los Angeles Times that the film performed particularly well in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston. It also clobbered Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the only other film to open wide over the weekend. The Jerry Bruckheimer film starring Nicolas Cage opened with about $17.4 million, well below even the most dire analysts’ forecasts, to wind up in third place. “There’s no question we’re disappointed in the result,” Disney distribution chief Chuck Viane told Reuters. Last week’s No. 1 film, Universal’s animated Despicable Me, finished in second place with $32.7 million, raising its 10-day total to $118.4 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. Inception, $60.4 million; 2. Despicable Me, $32.7 million; 3. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, $17.4 million; 4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, $13.5 million; 5. Toy Story 3, $11.7 million; 6. Grown Ups, $10 million; 7. The Last Airbender, $7.5 million; 8. Predators, $6.8 million; 9. Knight and Day, $3.7 million; 10. The Karate Kid, $2.2 million.

The final total for Inception turned out to be $62.79 million, significantly higher than the studio’s estimate. All other films came in close to Sunday’s estimates.