Box office: 'Inception' edges out 'Schmucks,' 'Charlie' sputters,' 'Cats and Dogs' flops [updated]
Ticket sales for "Inception" declined 37% in the U.S. and Canada, just a bit more than on its second weekend. Director Christopher Nolan's thriller took in a studio-estimated $27.5 million this weekend, bringing its domestic box-office total to $193.3 million. The complex film about dreams within dreams that has become a word-of-mouth blockbuster is sure to top $250 million and still has a shot at $300 million.
[Update 12:43 p.m.: "Inception" had a huge weekend overseas, $53.7 million in 51 foreign markets, with a particularly strong $7.1 million debut in Germany and very good holds in Great Britain, South Korea and Australia. Its international total so far is $170 million, with launches in a number of big countries yet to come.]
The Steve Carell-Paul Rudd farce "Dinner for Schmucks" opened to a so-so $23.3 million, right in line with pre-release expectations. Audiences, which tilted male, seemed to like but not love the remake of a hit French film and play about a man who takes a buffoon to dinner to help his career, giving it an average grade of B. In good news for distributor Paramount Pictures and financing partners DreamWorks Studios and Spyglass Entertainment, which spent $69 million to make the movie and got about $6 million in production tax credits, comedies tend to hold well at the box office. Another big comedy, however, opens next weekend with "The Other Guys," starring Will Ferrell and Mark Walhberg.
Warner Bros.' attempt to appeal to the kiddie set with a sequel to 2001's hit "Cats and Dogs" flopped. "Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" opened to a weak $12.5 million and saw ticket sales go up only 9% from Friday to Saturday, a small rise for the movie, which drew most of its audience at matinees. The performance is a big disappointment given that Warner and Village Roadshow Entertainment spent a hefty $85 million to make the digital-effects-laden comedy about canine and feline spies.
The Zac Efron tearjerker "Charlie St. Cloud" opened on the low end of expectations with a soft $12.1 million. Though the opening-day audiences, mostly young and female, liked the movie, giving it a B+, it seemed there weren't many who wanted to see "Charlie" beyond the first day. Ticket sales plummeted 32% from Friday to Saturday, one of the highest such drops ever and a strong sign that it will disappear from theaters fast. Previous films that appealed to the same demographic, such as February's "Dear John" and May's "Letters to Juliet," saw a drop of 10% and an increase of 7%, respectively.
Universal Pictures and Relativity Media spent about $44 million to make "Charlie St. Cloud."
Focus Features lost a lot of momentum as it took its indie hit "The Kids Are All Right" nationwide, expanding it from 201 theaters to 847. Despite more than quadrupling its theater count, ticket sales grew only 33%, to $3.5 million, indicating that audiences in suburban markets and at theaters that typically play more commercial pictures weren't too interested in the story of a two-mother family that meets their sperm donor.
The Angelina Jolie action thriller "Salt" came in third this weekend as ticket sales declined 47%, a bit better than normal for a summer event movie, to $19.3 million.
In limited release, the Robert Duvall drama opened to a strong $90,954 at four theaters, French movie "The Concert" opened to a solid $20,121 at two theaters, and the Kevin Kline drama "The Extra Man" opened to a pretty good $17,200 at two theaters.
[Update, 12:43 p.m.: Overseas, "Salt" debuted in several major foreign markets and took in a solid $6.5 million in South Korea and $5.5 million in Russia, but a less impressive $3.9 million in Japan.
"Toy Story 3" continues to be huge internationally as it racked up another $39.1 million this weekend, bringing its foreign box office total to $436.4 million. It has been No. 1 for four straight weeks in Japan and two in Great Britain and Spain.
Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:
1. "Inception" (Warner Bros./Legendary) $27.5 million on its third weekend, down 36%. $53.7 million overseas in 51 foreign markets. Domestic total: $193.3 million. International total: $170 million.
2. "Dinner for Schmucks" (Paramount/DreamWorks/Spyglass): Opened to $23.3 million.
3. "Salt" (Sony/Relativity): $19.3 million on its second weekend, down 47%. $24.5 million overseas in 29 foreign markets. Domestic total: $70.8 million. International total: $32.8 million.
4. "Despicable Me" (Universal): $15.5 million on its fourth weekend, down 34%. $10.5 million overseas in 20 foreign markets. Domestic total: $190.3 million. International total: $29.2 million.
5. "Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow): Opened to $12.5 million.
6. "Charlie St. Cloud" (Universal/Relativity): Opened to $12.1 million.
7. "Toy Story 3" (Disney/Pixar): $5 million on its seventh weekend, down 44%. $39.1 million overseas in 48 foreign markets. Domestic total: $389.7 million. International total: $436.4 million.
8. "Grown Ups" (Sony/Relativity): $4.5 million on its sixth weekend, down 39%. $3.8 million overseas in 16 foreign markets. Domestic total: $150.7 million. International total: $18.2 million.
9. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (Disney): $4.3 million on its third weekend, down 55%. $9 million overseas in 28 foreign markets. Domestic total: $51.9 million. International total: $40.8 million.
10. "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (Summit): $4 million on its fifth weekend, down 45%. $11.2 million in 67 foreign markets. Domestic total: $288.1 million. International total: $356.7 million.
-- Ben Fritz
Photos, from top: Paul Rudd and Steve Carell in "Dinner for Schmucks." Credit: Merie Weismille Wallace / DreamWorks. A scene from "Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore." Credit: Kimberly French / Warner Bros. Robert Duvall in "Get Low." Credit: Sam Emerson / Sony Pictures Classics