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Video: Jolie adds spice to weekend box office

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    >>> angelina jolie is spicing up the box office with her latest action-packed thriller, but does it have the ingredients to take the number one spot.

    >> somebody is going to try and kill the russian president . you know that. do something about it. that's what you should be worried about.

    >> quit now.

    >> i didn't do anything.

    >> no. no!

    >> let's get the details now from dawn yanic, editor at large with " life & style " magazine. will it be number one, "salt."

    >> may miss out on number one by a few million dollars. we're talking about the high thirty millions, maybe around $37 million. and "inception" will probably be $44 million. here is the thing that is so cool about "salt" this shows angelina jolie is not just an awesome female action star. she is an awesome action hero , period. the plot, action sequences, really fun. a little over the top and completely ridiculous. but you know what? audiences won't care. a good movie.

    >> she did a lot of her own stunt work. what's up with that?

    >> this role was originally created for a guy. tom cruise was going to play this role. they rewrote it for her.

    >> i'm dying to see it. it will get some of my money. how will lindsay lohan , how is it going for her?

    >> much has been made for the past week she was receiving visitors during the week. seemingly against jail policy. her mom came to visit, her sister and samantha ronson , according to jail officials, it may be for the safety for everyone involved. you can imagine the mayhem that would occur during normal visiting hours on the weekend. she reportedly had her two visits and that's it. none this weekend.

    >> samantha ronson , together again?

    >> we don't know. there are some reports that two more days may have been shaved off lindsay's already shortened sentence. we'll see.

    >> how about levi johnston? moving into the music video world?

    >> levi wants to act and this is a case of art imitating life. he'll be starring in a music video for an r & b performer named brittney sensor, and he's going to be playing a young guy whose romance with his lady love is thwarted by a disapproving mother, so it's hitting a little too close to home . doesn't seem like the brightest move in the world if you're trying to get back into sarah palin 's good graces.

    >> a little typecasting right there.

    >>> bruise wice willis, when you think of him, you think of " die hard " another one coming?

    >> according to bruce willis , he said a fifth " die hard " installment is "imminent." not clear whether len wiseman will direct this one. it will be interesting to see what happens.

    >> is he great in those

updated 7/25/2010 2:46:01 PM ET 2010-07-25T18:46:01

Leonardo DiCaprio's "Inception" has won a battle of superstar action thrillers over Angelina Jolie's "Salt" at the weekend box office.

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"Inception" remained the No. 1 movie for the second-straight weekend with $43.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Warner Bros. thriller featuring DiCaprio as leader of a team that sneaks into people's dreams raised its 10-day total to $143.7 million.

Sony's spy caper "Salt" debuted a solid No. 2 with $36.5 million. The movie stars Jolie as a CIA operative who goes rogue after she's accused of being a Russian sleeper agent.

Coming in at No. 3 with $24.1 million was Steve Carell's family hit "Despicable Me." The animated comedy raised its domestic total to $161.7 million.

In a rare convergence of fresh ideas, the top three movies all were original stories, not sequels or adaptations of comic books, best-sellers, video games or other pre-existing material.

"Typically in summer, all we're seeing are rehashes and sequels and reboots, whatever you want to call them," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. "To have original stories as the top-three films is a lesson to studios that maybe audiences are open to more originality in the summer and to perhaps not play it so safe, even though that goes against the grain of every fiber in every studio executive's being."

The weekend's other new wide release, 20th Century Fox's family comedy "Ramona and Beezus," took in $8 million to finish at No. 6. The movie is based on Beverly Cleary's children's books about a teenage girl and her accident-prone little sister.

"Inception" hung in strongly in its second weekend, its total down just 31 percent from its $62.8 million opening. During the busy summer, top hits often drop 50 percent or more in the second weekend and rarely repeat as the No. 1 movie.

The film will quickly shoot past the $200 million mark at the domestic box office and has a good shot at topping $300 million, said Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner Bros.

Repeat business is accounting for a good share of "Inception" revenues as fans return to delve deeper into the labyrinthine story concocted by writer-director Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight").

"There's so much on the screen. It's so original and so smart that it raises questions that I think can be answered in different ways if you see the movie multiple times," Fellman said.

While young males usually make up the bulk of the action audience, women and older crowds were the core fans of Jolie's "Salt." Females accounted for 53 percent of viewers, while 59 percent of the audience was older than 25, according to Sony.

"What the movie really has going for it just a kick-ass performance by Angelina Jolie," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. "It just speaks well to the viability of our film for many weeks to come that you have such an incredible hold for 'Inception,' and we're still able to open our picture. We coexisted really nicely."

Overall revenues rose for the fourth-straight weekend as Hollywood continued to recover from a box-office swoon earlier in the summer. Receipts totaled $164 million, up 11 percent from the same weekend last year, when "G-Force" was No. 1 with $31.7 million.

Revenues this season are at $3 billion, about 3 percent ahead of the record pace of summer 2009. But accounting for higher ticket prices, movie attendance is down 3.4 percent compared to last summer's, according to Hollywood.com.

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," $43.5 million.
2. "Salt," $36.5 million.
3. "Despicable Me," $24.1 million.
4. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," $9.7 million.
5. "Toy Story 3," $9 million.
6. "Ramona and Beezus," $8 million.
7. "Grown Ups," $7.6 million.
8. "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," $7 million.
9. "The Last Airbender," $4.2 million.
10. "Predators," $2.9 million.

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

Photos: Female action heroes

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  1. I spy

    Not too many women play action heroes, but Angelina Jolie has done it more than once. She plays Evelyn Salt in 2010's "Salt." She's a CIA officer who goes on the run when a defector accuses her of being a Russian sleeper spy. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Name of the game

    Video games are legendary for not translating well to the big screen. Jolie took on the genre twice, with "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" in 2001 and "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" in 2003. (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Mama bear

    Sigourney Weaver was one of the earliest female action heroes, playing Ellen Ripley in the "Alien" series. The first movie, "Alien," came out in 1979. Ripley really came into her own when she discovered a little girl, Newt, who'd been orphaned by the alien attack and defended her as she and the Colonial Marines fought their way off the planet. Carrie Henn, who played Newt, had never acted before or since. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. She'll be back

    Linda Hamilton was one of the first buffed-up female action heroes, showing off her muscles when she played Sarah Connor in 1984's "The Terminator." Connor's son, John, is famously predicted to lead the humans against the Terminator killing machines, so they send Arnold Schwarzenegger back through time to kill her before she can ever give birth. (Orion Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Bloody Bride

    Uma Thurman plays The Bride in "Kill Bill," Quentin Tarantino's two-movie series from 2003 and 2004. After being nearly killed while pregnant at her wedding, she takes her bloody revenge. (Miramax Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Back in black

    Carrie-Anne Moss played deadly computer hacker Trinity in 1999's "The Matrix." The movie became known for its acrobatic, slow-motion stunts, while Moss' character became known for her unusual first name and all-black leather wardrobe. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. 20th century fox

    Pam Grier played an early black female action hero in 1974's "Foxy Brown," as a woman who seeks bloody revenge when her boyfriend is shot. (American International Pictures via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi

    She may have famously asked Ben Kenobi for help, but Princess Leia Organa could also stand on her own two feet. Carrie Fisher played the princess and rebel leader in 1977's "Star Wars" and its sequels. (20th Century Fox via Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Back to the future

    Jane Fonda played the title character in 1968's "Barbarella," directed by her then-husband, Roger Vadim. The band Duran Duran took their name from the film's mad scientist, Dr. Durand-Durand. (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Going under

    Kate Beckinsale plays Selene, a vampire warrior, in 2003's "Underworld" and its sequel 2006's "Underworld: Evolution." In the film, Beckinsale's vampires battle the brutal Lycans, or werewolves. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Here, kitty kitty

    There are fewer women superheroes and supervillains than men, but Halle Berry took on a stand-alone "Catwoman" film in 2004. The film appeared on Roger Ebert's list of his most-hated films. It won four Razzie Awards, including worst picture and worst actress, in 2005. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Taking aim

    Anne Parillaud plays convicted felon Nikita, a French criminal recruited to work as a government assassin, in 1990's "La Femme Nikita." A TV series based on the film ran for five seasons on the USA Network, and the CW is reportedly working on another version of the series. (MGM) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Now they work for me

    Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz took on the roles of Alex, Dylan and Natalie in 2000's "Charlie's Angels" and 2003's sequel, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle." The movies were inspired by the original ABC TV series, but 1970s icons Jill, Kelly and Sabrina wouldn't even recognize them. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Enter the dragon

    Zhang Ziyi as Jen, all but flew through the air in the martial-arts classic "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," released in 2000. The film helped boost the popularity of Chinese films, specifically, the genre known as "wuxia," which features the adventures of martial artists in ancient China. (Sony Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. I dare you

    Ben Affleck played the title role in 2003's superhero flick "Daredevil," but Jennifer Garner saw some action of her own as his love interest, Elektra. She earned her own spinoff film in 2005. Her weapon of choice is a pair of Sai, traditional Okinawan daggers. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Now you see her, now you don't

    Jessica Alba played Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, in 2005's "Fantastic Four" and 2007's sequel, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer." (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Go ask Alice

    Milla Jovovich plays Alice in 2002's "Resident Evil," based on the horror video game series. She and police officer Matt attempt to fight off a horde of zombies in a futuristic and bleak land. She returns in 2004's "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," 2007's "Resident Evil: Extinction," and 2010's "Resident Evil: Afterlife." (Screen Gems) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Columbia Pictures
    Above: Slideshow (17) Female action heroes
  2. Image: An Audience With Queen Elizabeth II
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    Slideshow (89) Angelina Jolie

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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