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    Holy Inception! Christopher Nolan Scores With Leonardo DiCaprio—and Without Batman

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception Warner Bros. Entertainment

    Christopher Nolan has more than one trick up his utility belt.

    Inception, the Caped Crusader director's latest, ruled the weekend box office with a bigger-than-expected, bigger-than-Batman Begins $60.4 million.

    Nicolas Cage's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, meanwhile, was outta luck.

    The $150 million-ish Disney extravaganza managed only $17.4 million from Friday-Sunday, and only $24.5 million overall since opening Wednesday.

    Drilling down into the numbers:

    Inception is the summer's biggest debut for a non-franchise flick, à la Iron Man 2,  and a non-reboot, à la The Karate Kid. Or, in other words, it's the summer's biggest debut for a new idea. 

    At $160 million reportedly, Nolan's Leonardo DiCaprio dream thriller was more expensive than Batman Begins. It was also more successful than that 2005 relaunch, which bowed with $48.7 million. (Nolan's The Dark Knight is another story, obviously.)

    Inception is now the biggest opener, by far, of DiCaprio's career. (Titanic, remember, was a marathon runner, not a sprinter.)

    As Prince of Persia proved again this summer, it's not over until the foreign box office is all counted. So, no, it's not over for The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which is a good thing for Disney because the movie's worldwide grand total right now is not so grand: $32.8 million. (To be fair, it hasn't opened in a lot of foreign markets yet.) 

    Eclipse vs. New Moon watch: After 19 days, Eclipse is at $264.9 million domestically; at the same time in its run, New Moon was at $257.5 million.

    Last weekend's champ, the 3-D-powered Despicable Me, got bumped down to second place, but otherwise held great. Its domestic total is now at $118.4 million.

    The indie comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right made $1 million and a run at the Top 10 (it just missed) on the "strength" of 38 theaters. Its per-screen average was the best of the weekend—even bigger than Inception's.

    The $110 million A-Team was out of the Top 10 after five forgettable weekends and $75.2 million domestically. (But, yup, it made its budget back overseas.) 

    Here's a complete look at the weekend's top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

    1. Inception, $60.4 million
    2. Despicable Me, $32.7 million
    3. The Sorcerer's Apprentice, $17.4 million
    4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, $13.5 million
    5. Toy Story 3, $11.7 million
    6. Grown Ups, $10 million
    7. The Last Airbender, $7.5 million
    8. Predators, $6.8 million
    9. Knight and Day, $3.7 million
    10. The Karate Kid, $2.2 million

    (Originally published July 18, 2010, at 10:52 a.m. PT)

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