On the heels of a very solid first week performance, Warner's Inception grossed an impressive $42.73 million in its second weekend of release. That was good enough to outpace Sony's Salt by $6.71 million for first place over the weekend. Inception held up exceptionally well this weekend, as it was down only 32 percent from last weekend. It is extremely rare for a summer film the size of Inception to fall less than 35 percent in its second weekend of release. With regard to past second weekend grosses of at least $40 million during the summer season, the only other films able to make that same claim are 1999's The Phantom Menace, 2001's Shrek, 2003's Finding Nemo and 2004's Shrek 2.
The ten-day total for Inception stands at $142.88 million. That places the acclaimed sci-fi action film 31 percent ahead of the pace of 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean. Inception is displaying holding power very similar to Pirates of the Caribbean, which fell 27 percent to gross $34.03 million in its second weekend of release. Given the strength of this weekend's hold, Inception will zoom past the $200 million mark before long and should have no problem clearing the $250 million mark.
Internationally, Inception grossed $58.6 million from 38 markets this weekend. That brings the film's international total to $85.7 million and its worldwide total to $228.6 million. Key international debuts included $8.9 million in Japan, $8.1 million in France, $7.1 million in Russia, $6.8 million in Korea and $6.4 million in Australia.
While it wasn't able to debut in first, Salt was still off to a good start this weekend with a second place gross of $36.01 million. The action-thriller starring Angelina Jolie opened in line with pre-release expectations. As was the case with Inception last weekend, Salt held up well as the weekend went on by generating a three-day to Friday ratio of 2.87 to 1. That could be a positive early sign for the film's holding power going forward, though it should also be noted that the film's Saturday and Sunday holds were helped by the film skewing heavily towards moviegoers older than 25. Salt opened 29 percent softer than 2008's Wanted, but odds are strong that Salt will hold up better than Wanted did.
Following the better than expected performances of The Karate Kid and Grown Ups; Salt marks the third straight success for Sony this summer. The studio will attempt to continue its successful summer in the coming weeks when it unleashes The Other Guys on August 6th and Eat Pray Love on August 13th.
Despicable Me also had a very nice weekend with a third place take of $23.69 million. The computer animated blockbuster from Universal and Illumination Entertainment fell a healthy 28 percent from last weekend. The 17-day total for Despicable Me stands at $161.29 million, as the film has clearly become one of the summer's biggest surprises. Despicable Me could lose a bit of momentum next weekend from losing 3D screens to Warner's Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, but is very likely to hold up well throughout August.
Given the combined success of Despicable Me, Inception and Salt, it is quite clear that audiences were ready in a big way for some original concepts after a summer full of sequels, remakes and adaptations.
One non-sequel that hasn't been able to attract moviegoers is Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice. After an already lackluster start last week, the big-budget production was down 45 percent from last weekend. Normally a 45 percent second weekend slide wouldn't look so bad in the middle of summer, but in the case of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the film held up much poorer than the rest of the holdovers in the top seven this weekend. The Sorcerer's Apprentice has grossed $42.61 million through twelve days and is on course to finish its domestic run in the area of $65 million to $70 million.
Fox's Ramona and Beezus opened in sixth with $7.81 million. That was in line with pre-release expectations for the modestly budgeted adaptation of the children's book series. Ramona and Beezus opened 14 percent stronger than the $6.83 million start of 2007's Nancy Drew. Summer family films aimed at younger girls tend to benefit from strong midweek business, so it is likely that Ramona and Beezus will hold up well going forward.
After expanding into an additional 163 theaters this weekend The Kids Are All Right finished just outside of the top ten with $2.59 million. The indie comedy starring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening continues to earn strong per-location averages, as it posted an average of $12,909 this weekend. The Kids Are All Right has grossed $4.91 million in 17 days of platform and limited release and is set to expand into additional locations on Friday.