Weekend Box Office: Stuck in the Dream World

Well, it looked for a minute there like ‘Dinner for Schmucks,’ the high-concept comedy from DreamWorks that’s a remake of an already mediocre French farce, was going to come out as the king of the weekend box office. I even had my title for this post all picked out (“Winner for Schmucks”). But now it looks like Christopher Nolan’s titillating, debate-raising dream world thriller ‘Inception’ has remained on top. Way to go, American public!

Inception‘ made another $26 million over the weekend, down only 39% from last weekend. That’s phenomenal! Based on the numbers on Friday, it looked like ‘Dinner for Schmucks’ was going to be a squeaker for a top slot – but then ‘Inception’ came back strong. What do you think it is that keeps this movie going (and going)? Is it the Byzantine nature of the story, which requires multiple viewings to fully appreciate and decode? Is it the outstanding word of mouth? Or a winning combination of the two? It seems to have captured the cultural zeitgeist in a really wonderful and unusual way. I’m sure it will play strong for many weeks to come.

Dinner for Schmucks,’ the biggest new studio movie that opened this weekend, came in 2nd place with $23 million. I can’t imagine this movie having cost that much to make, and it’s got a couple of agreeable stars (Steve Carell and Paul Rudd). It’s that “meh” formula that propelled Carell’s last movie, the outrageously mediocre ‘Date Night,’ to a gross of over $100 million. Look for ‘Schmucks’ to be a sleeper hit, but no blockbuster. It will have to content with the big guns (both literally and figuratively) of ‘The Other Guys,’ Adam McKay’s new action comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, which opens this weekend.

The other two big new movies didn’t do nearly as well as ‘Schmucks.’ ‘Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore‘ debuted at #5, behind boring Hollywood fluff ‘Salt‘ and ‘Despicable Me,’ with $12.5 million. Kids have had a lot of options this summer, and parents surely must be tired of wearing those goofy Buddy Holly 3-D glasses. Not to mention, the last ‘Cats & Dogs‘ film came out nine years ago, and most of the voice talent from the first film has been replaced by lesser known (i.e. more affordable) stars this time around. On the plus side, there’s a new ‘Looney Tunes’ short attached to the movie. (I believe it’s a 3-D Roadrunner thing).

Faring even worse than the warring felines and canines was Zac Efron and his ghostly dead brother. ‘Charlie St. Cloud,’ a kind of supernatural melodrama, made just $12 million for 6th place. It had a nice bump on Friday, but slid after that. Zac Efron is one of the more talented young actors working today; it’s a shame this movie didn’t capture his particular brand of mojo. My on-again/off-again saw it last night and said that it was kind of disturbing and weird, but not disturbing or weird enough to recommend I go see it. Sounds about right.

The rest of the Top 10 is about what you’d expect of it. Yes, I was wrong again about ‘The Kids Are All Right‘ breaking into the list. Soon. I promise. Next week: the wise acres of ‘The Other Guys,’ the 3-D hip hop dancing of ‘Step Up 3D’ (full disclosure: kind of looking forward to that one), and the spoiled, sub-‘Gossip Girl’ theatrics of Joel Schumacher’s ‘Twelve’ (which I’ve heard is laughably bad).

The Top 10:

01 ‘Inception’ (Warner Bros) – $26 million

02 ‘Dinner for Schmucks’ (Paramount) – $23 million

03 ‘Salt’ (Sony) – $19 million

04 ‘Despicable Me’ (Universal) – $15 million

05 ‘Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore’ (Warner Bros) – $12.5

06 ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ (Universal) – $12 million

07 ‘Toy Story 3’ (Disney) – $5.5 million

08 ‘Grown Ups’ (Sony) – $4.5 million

09 ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ (Disney) – $4.2 million

10 ‘Ramona and Beezus’ (Fox) – $16.1 million


  1. motorheadache

    I had to go see Charlie St. Cloud with the GF. It was corny, but harmless. It was clearly aimed at the teenage girl audience more than anything. But yeah, the little brother was kind of creepy sometimes (I’m not sure if that was intentional or not).

  2. I’ve seen Inception 3 times at the theater, it has become my favorite movie of all time and what I like about it that people I dont think realize is that its a really deep movie with many many things to think about but can easily be followed by just about anyone and I think a lot of people were, at first, put off by the trailers and having no idea what the movie is about, but now that word of mouth has picked up and critics have pretty much loved it, its still holding on pretty good, I was honestly surprised (but very happy) that it stayed on top for the 3rd week in a row, I wonder if The Other Guys can pull it down, if not I can only see (and hope) that The Expendables does well as its the only other movie I KNOW I will have a blast with 🙂

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