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July 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Three new movies make their debut at the box office this weekend, and, judging from the reviews, they’re not likely to pose any obstacle to Inception‘s retaining its position as the No. 1 film.* First, there’s Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, which Mike Hale in the New York Times describes as a “bloated spy-and-action-film pastiche” and Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel as a “tedious time-killer of a kiddie comedy.” Reacting similarly to the plot, many critics simply pass over it and direct their displeasure elsewhere — like the 3D conversion and associated premium ticket price. As Glenn Whipp notes in the Los Angeles Times: “Cats & Dogs is the latest family movie to be unnecessarily converted to 3-D, which means that if Mom and Dad want to take the kids to see the fur fly this weekend, they’re going to probably pay a premium surcharge to receive absolutely nothing of value in return.” Several critics point out that the best thing about the movie is not the movie itself but the Warner Bros. cartoon that precedes it. Ty Burr in the Boston Globe remarks that it’s “a scream: fast, funny, impeccably timed, and as brutally obedient to the laws of Looney Tunes physics as ever.” Writes Dan Coil in the Washington Post: “The 6-year-old next to me, like nearly every child in the theater, shrieked in delight and gasped in wonder as Wile E. Coyote was smashed, flattened, run over and blown up in an enormous fireball. (All in 3-D!) For kids raised on the nonviolent, chipper children’s entertainment of Nickelodeon and PBS Kids, the first Road Runner cartoon they’ve ever seen delivers genuine entertainment catharsis.”

As it turned out, Dinner for Schmucks edged out Inception at the box office on Friday. The comedy, produced by Universal, DreamWorks and Spyglass took in an estimated $8.4 million versus $8.2 million for the Warner Bros. dreamweaver. Sony/Columbia’s Salt was in third place with about $5.9 million, just ahead of the debut of Universal’s Charlie St. Cloud, which had a first-day tally of $5.6 million. Warner Bros.’ kiddie flick, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, made its Friday debut with $4.3 million but was expected to increase business at weekend matinees.

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