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Video: Dreamy open for 'Inception'

  1. Closed captioning of: Dreamy open for 'Inception'

    >> this isn't over.

    >>> warner brothers is banking on leonardo decap rio to fill seats in theaters beginning this weekend. pretty unbelievable. take a quick look at "inception."

    >> i am the most skilled extractor. i know how to search your mind and find your secrets. i know the tricks. i can teach them to you so even when you're asleep, your defense is never down.

    >> we have the editor at large for " life & style weekly ." let's talk about the movies out there. what about "inception"?

    >> it is one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. it totally delivers. this is from the mind of christopher nolan . it is about a man who can enter people's treedreams, extract information and implant ideas. it's a lot of layers of dreaming an very complex. you really have to pay attention and follow it. the payoff is big. the action is great. it's a psychological action thriller . the acting is stellar. and critics have been saying that their reviews are overwhelmingly positive. it's going to do big numbers at the box office this weekend as well. right now it seems on track for $55 million. some analysts are predicting $70 million this weekend.

    >> that's a good sort of promo for that movie. what about "sourcer's apprentice"?

    >> warner brothers is soaring this weekend with "inception." disney is having a dispinting weekend. "the sourcer's apprentice" is not doing well. it's going to come in fourth place and be beat out by two movies we loved, but two movies that have been out for a while, "despicable me" and "eclipse." it seems to fall a little flat even though nicolas cage is reunited with the director from "the national treasure " franchise. they failed to recapture that magic.

    >> "despicable me" is a huge hit for nbc universal .

    >> and it does so well. when you have a really well done great product, does it even better. so we're seeing "despicable me" coming in the number two spot this weekend with really strong numbers. even " toy story 3 " is doing well. it's in the fifth week and going to come in fifth place.

    >> all good stuff. and i've got to get out to the movies myself. it's just hard with three young kids and working on the weekends and all that stuff. but you really encouraged me to try to make time. looks like a lot of good summer flicks out there.

    >> good stuff this weekend.

updated 7/18/2010 2:10:14 PM ET 2010-07-18T18:10:14

Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan's "Inception" is anything but a sleeper as the thriller opened big with $60.4 million and a No. 1 finish at the weekend box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.

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The Warner Bros. action tale about a team that sneaks into people's dreams is DiCaprio's biggest opening weekend, topping his previous best of $41.1 million for last winter's "Shutter Island."

"Inception" falls far short of director Christopher Nolan's best, though. Nolan is the man who directed the Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight," which opened over the same weekend two years ago with a record $158.4 million.

Warner Bros. has carved out a niche with this particular mid-July weekend. The studio followed "The Dark Knight" with a $77.8 million opening for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" over the same weekend last year.

"We like this spot. Not to sound superstitious, but stay away from this weekend. I own it," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros.

The final "Harry Potter" movie debuts on the same weekend next summer. Warner plans to open Nolan's third "Batman" movie over that weekend two years from now, though Fellman said the studio could move it to an earlier date that summer.

Strong reviews helped "Inception," which stars DiCaprio as leader of a team that normally breaks into people's dreams to steal their secrets but now has been hired to do the opposite — plant an idea in a wealthy heir's subconscious.

Slipping to second place with $32.7 million was the previous weekend's No. 1 movie, Steve Carell's animated hit "Despicable Me." The Universal release raised its 10-day total to $118.4 million.

'Sorcerer's Apprentice' flops
Disney's family adventure "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was a dud, opening at No. 3 with $17.4 million, lifting its total to $24.5 million since premiering Wednesday.

"It's disappointing to say the least," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney, which had high hopes for the movie. "I'm perplexed. I have no response, because I honestly don't know what went wrong."

The movie reunites the team behind the hit "National Treasure" movies — Nicolas Cage, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub — for an action comedy about an ancient wizard training an awkward apprentice (Jay Baruchel) to take down an evil sorceress in modern Manhattan.

Bruckheimer has been a blockbuster producer for Disney with such hits as "The Rock," "Armageddon" and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.

But "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was the summer's second Disney-Bruckheimer production to come up short at the domestic box office, following "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," which was unable to crack the $100 million mark.

"Jerry's working on 'Pirates 4' as we speak," Viane said of the Johnny Depp sequel due out next summer. "I'll go to bat with Jerry any day, because his track record is pretty darn good."

With "Inception" and "Despicable Me," the weekend marked a rare instance when two original stories — not sequels, spinoffs or adaptations of comic books, best-sellers or other properties — led the box office.

Hollywood relies on familiar titles such as "Iron Man 2," "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and "Toy Story 3" for most of its big summer releases, though the occasional fresh idea manages to score with audiences.

"We let all of the sequels and popcorn films come out and get the summer rolling, then we come in here with this original concept," Fellman said of "Inception." "We're in a good place to run now for the rest of the summer."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.

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.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explainer: Free your mind: 5 best mind-trip movies

  • IMAGE: 'The Matrix'
    Everett Collection  /  Ronald Grant

    "Inception" is about dreams, and dreams within dreams. It's about plundering the subconscious for secrets and, perhaps, planting a few ideas there, as well.

    But writer-director Christopher Nolan has done so much more than just recreate the sensation of what happens when we fall asleep. He's built a complete and complicated world, one that constantly shakes you up and makes you work — makes you stop every once in a while to find your bearings. In a good way.

    It's the most superbly crafted mind trip, and it follows a great tradition of challenging, innovative films.

  • 'The Matrix' (1999)

    IMAGE: 'The Matrix'
    Warner Bros.

    The first one, that is, and not the inferior, back-to-back sequels. This clearly influenced Nolan, with its depiction of an alternate reality in which characters can drop in together and interact with each other — a place where the usual rules of time and space don't apply. This futuristic action thriller was just hugely cool and, in retrospect, so influential, from the "bullet time" effect to the bold, S&M-style wardrobe aesthetic. Despite drawing from various religious and mystical sources, the Wachowski Brothers truly created their own original world here.

  • 'Mulholland Dr.' (2001)

    IMAGE: 'Mulholland Drive'

    It could all be a dream. That's one way to interpret it. David Lynch will never tell you what his movie is about, of course, and that's what makes him — and his work — simultaneously intriguing and maddening. Disarming visuals, shocking imagery, cryptic proclamations — they're all there, and they require repeated viewing, and even then "Mulholland Dr." may not make sense. Here's what's certain: Naomi Watts gave a star-making performance in two different roles in this Hollywood mystery, and a haunting feeling will linger with you long afterward.

  • '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968)

    IMAGE: '2001: A Space Odyssey'
    Everett Collection

    Vintage Stanley Kubrick: visually striking, mentally baffling, artistically unlike anything else. The questions it raises may never be answered, and that's part of the film's beauty. This much we know: There's a monolith, and HAL 9000 won't open the pod bay doors for Dave, but he will sing "Daisy." Still, it's duly one of the most influential sci-fi movies ever made — at once enormous and intimate, balletic and even melancholy. As a bold piece of filmmaking, it's very much of its time, yet it still grabs hold of its audience just as ferociously as ever today.

  • 'Being John Malkovich' (1999)

    IMAGE: 'Being John Malkovich'

    Really, you could list any movie Charlie Kaufman's written here. Many would choose the wistful "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," with its vivid, dreamlike imagery. Others love the sprawling, existential "Synecdoche, New York." But this was Kaufman's first, and it's my favorite of his. Merely the idea of entering a portal that takes you inside Malkovich's mind is inspired in itself. It's where Kaufman and director Spike Jonze go with this concept — an absurd exploration of love and identity — that makes this movie so irresistible and strangely sweet.

  • 'Memento' (2000)

    IMAGE: 'Memento'
    Summit Entertainment

    And now we're back to Nolan again, and the movie that put him on the map. With its screenplay-in-reverse (which Nolan co-wrote with brother Jonathan), this was an early indicator of the kind of intricate, intelligent puzzle-building that would become one of Nolan's trademarks. Like "Inception," "Memento" makes you work. But watching it unfold is a thrill as Guy Pearce pieces together his past through notes and tattoos to hunt down his wife's killer. You could analyze it to death to see if it holds together (it does) or you could just go with it and enjoy having him toy with you.


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