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Movie projector: 'Inception' headed for No. 1, 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' to open in third

Inception Warner Bros. is opening one of the riskiest movies of the summer this weekend, while Walt Disney Studios is opening one of the most commercially challenged.

Warner's thriller “Inception” from director Christopher Nolan will probably top the box office, according to people who have seen pre-release surveys, although they're far from certain how audiences will respond to its narrative complexity that's already dividing critics. The movie should open to roughly $45 million, but could easily go higher or lower depending on word of mouth.

Disney's “The Sorcerer's Apprentice,” meanwhile, got off to a weak start on its opening day Wednesday, collecting just $3.9 million. The studio's marketing campaign for the PG-rated adventure movie, which stars Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel and cost about $150 million to produce, has generated high awareness -- and little interest, according to surveys. It will probably draw a small family audience and struggle to collect just $30 million in the U.S. and Canada by Sunday.

That's a weak total for such a big-budget movie and a sign that Disney's ads -- for which the tagline was recently changed in some material from “It's the coolest job ever” to “There's no such thing as no such thing” -- have failed to resonate with audiences. If its domestic performance is in line with expectations, “Sorcerer's” will have to do much bigger business overseas, as Disney's recent domestic underperformer “Prince of Persia” did, to avoid becoming a major money loser.

"Sorcerer's" doesn't hit most major foreign markets this weekend, opening in only 13. Those markets represent an estimated 10% of its international box-office potential and include Argentina and Russia.

For the Friday-Sunday weekend, "Sorcerer's" is almost certain to come in behind not only “Inception” but also the animated “Despicable Me,” which will draw a large chunk of the family crowd that Disney wants. After opening to a fantastic $56.4 million, Universal Pictures' “Despicable” has done strong weekday business, reaching a box-office total of $79 million by Wednesday. It should gross another $30 million to $40 million this weekend.

“Inception,” which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a corporate espionage agent who works in targets' dreams, is one of the very few movies this summer that's not a sequel or based on preexisting source material. It's also one of the most expensive, at $160 million, a cost that was split by Warner and Legendary Pictures. The studio made its bet, which also includes more than $100 million in worldwide advertising costs, in large part based on the appeal of director Christopher Nolan. Nolan's last picture was 2008 blockbuster “The Dark Knight,” which grossed $1 billion worldwide.

Nolan's small but avid fan base, as well as most cinephiles, are expected to embrace the movie, making for a big opening day. But for “Inception” to become a hit, Warner needs it to appeal to a broader audience that typically likes lighter action and thriller fare. Executives involved in the film and around Hollywood agree that its ultimate success will depend on word of mouth coming out of the first weekend.

“The Dark Knight” ultimately grossed more than three times what it took in on its opening weekend, and Warner and Legendary hope “Inception” will perform at least as well. They have frequently compared the new picture to “The Matrix,” which ended up with more than six times its opening weekend take.

-- Ben Fritz

Related:

"Inception" review

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" review

Warner gambles on an unproven commodity

Disney tries to pull a hit out of its bag of tricks

Photo: Marion Cotillard and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Inception." Credit: Warner Bros.

 
Comments () | Archives (2)

Almost all movies' ultimate success depends on word of mouth. So for Hollywood execs to make this statement begs the question...why don't these guys understand or say that the success of the movie depends on it being a good movie not on word of mouth per se as if good word of mouth could come from a bad movie. In the same way, all movies are execution dependent, there is no such thing as a movie that doesn't require good execution to be good.

INCEPTION MOVIE HERALDS 528 CODE FOR MUSICAL TRANSCENDENCE

Wake up or die in the nightmares of corporate espionage, greed, corruption, and armed anger. INCEPTION writer and director, Christopher Nolan, heralds "528" as the "code" through which social transformation, involving music, is achieved.

The new Hollywood blockbuster has moviegoers nationwide curious about the source of a mysterious code used in the plot involving music played in "Room 528," and linked to a forgotten "528" memory.

INCEPTION, another word for creation, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, shown here entering Room 528 to defend against corporate thugs.

Recalling the "key" to Room 528 is crucial to the movie's plot, wherein Cobb (DiCaprio), an expert in the art of mind manipulation, extracts secrets from people's subconscious to serve the "treacherous new world of corporate espionage."

The movie repeats the number "528," a mathematical frequency, in a key phone number, on a napkin, two vault combinations, and the room wherein much of the action occurs during the film's climax. Here, special music must be played at a precise time to "extract" the operatives from their anguish and nightmarish pseudo-realities.

Cobb's psychological operation in Room 528 reconnects the heir to the world's most powerful energy cartel, Robert Fisher (played by Cillian Murphy), to his father's memory. Fisher senior, atheistically representing the corporate alternative to God, is locked in a vault requiring the 528 code to open. Another "528-491" combination unlocks the final safe containing the greatest secret, treasure, motivation, and catharsis for the main characters that have all been struggling with the loss of LOVE.

The idea of linking music for social transcendence with "528" and LOVE in INCEPTIONappears to have come from Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz, the discoverer of the "Perfect Circle of Sound," and a frequent contributor to Hollywood's screenwriters. The author of 16 books has written extensively on the subject of 528 as it relates to universal construction, healing, Spiritual Renaissance, creationism, and what Nolan terms"inception."

"I am honored that Christopher Nolan, reputed to be a 'dark filmmaker,' thinks so highly of 528Hz music that he chose to promote the frequency in, around, and through "Room 528" at the height of the drama," Dr. Horowitz said.

528 engages the "music of the light," versus the "music of the night." The musical mathematical knowledge about 528, and its spiritual implications, is urgently needed to deal with the planet's corporate criminals.

Nolan wrote, "An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules." Horowitz's idea that 528 plays the sound of LOVE, has been rewriting all the rules since 1998 with his writing of Healing Codes for the Biological Apocalypse. (Tetrahedron Press; 1-888-508-4787) From co-author Dr. Joseph Puleo, a Bible code scholar and naturopath, Horowitz learned that 528Hz frequency is the "MI" note (that stands for "MIracles") in the original Solfeggio musical scale.

Thereafter, leading physicists and mathematicians published proofs that "528/LOVE" is fundamental to universal construction, Pi, Phi, the Fibonacci series, sacred geometry, the circle, square, the hexagonal ring of organic chemistry, and the world of biology. Grass, in fact, grows green because of 528Hz--the color of chlorophyll. And the real da Vinci code, according to Horowitz, has everything to do with these discoveries.

LOVE is what drives Nolan's leading character Cobb, leading lady Mol (Marion Cotillard), and leading victim Fisher, to access their memories in order to reconcile their relationships to reconstruct their lives.

Many people do not understand Nolan's film for its deeper social and metaphysical meanings. Dr. Horowitz attributes a lot of this confusion to the lost memory of 528Hz frequency, believed to be central to spiritual identity and human creativity.

Nolan's film plays on these themes, juxtaposing violence and cataclysm with the dream of"extracting" ourselves from the corporate controlled world of mind control and general madness. The objective is to "get back home."


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