Inception Schmacks the Schmucks

Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb in the Warner Bros.
Melissa Moseley / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The dream goes on. Inception won the weekend at North American theaters, according to early studio estimates. Christopher Nolan's labyrinthine thriller, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the leader of a team that invades a man's sleep patterns, earned $27.5 million in its third weekend. The film thus joins Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and Shrek Forever After — all movies whose protagonists fall or leap into alternative-reality dream worlds — in 2010's three-time-winners' club. Inception should cross the $200 domestic mark by Tuesday, and has already taken in $170 million abroad.

The second place finisher, Dinner for Schmucks, had been the top-grossing movie Friday night, before tepid word-of-Tweet (and a so-so B rating from CinemaScore's exiting moviegoers) alerted frequent filmgoers that the Steve Carell-Paul Rudd comedy was not an essential see. Schmucks should finish the weekend with $23.3 million, or almost as much as the combined take of the other two entries in wide release. The sequel Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore pulled in a kitten- or puppy-sized $12.5 million, landing in fifth place. Maybe the hit cartoon Despicable Me, which earned $15.5 million in its fourth weekend, sucked too much helium out of the kids'-party balloon. Or maybe the fanciers of CGI-aided talking-canine comedies are saving their money for Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, due out later this year.

Charlie St. Cloud, the teen weepie starring High School Musical's Zac Efron, is expected to have tallied a dry-eyed $12.1 million in its first three days. It should replicate the modest earnings of this March's Remember Me, another love story with a certified dreamboat headliner (Twilight's Robert Pattinson), a dead brother and a four-hankie rating. Viewers showed less interest in getting moist-eyed with Zac than in revisiting burlier movies with older stars: the Angelina Jolie spy-caper Salt, which finished third this weekend, and Adam Sandler's Grown Ups, which in its sixth week has passed $150 million and is Sandler's solidest since his remake of The Longest Yard in 2005.
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