Box office preview: Can 'Salt' overthrow 'Inception'?

angelina-jolie-saltImage Credit: Andrew SchwartzHow refreshing! Inception, a challenging, beautifully directed, impeccably acted drama has broken through the clutter of summer and is on the verge of collecting $100 million in only nine days of release. Its second weekend in theaters is sure to be strong, but will it hold high enough to keep Angelina Jolie’s spy caper Salt out of first place? It’s going to be a battle, but with both films likely to gross in the $35-$40 million range, it only portends good things for the movie business. Unfortunately, the other new release of the weekend, Ramona and Beezus, is unlikely to do much business. The G-rated family comedy, which based on the terrifically popular books by Beverly Cleary, has a built-in audience of young girls and their mothers who grew up on the once-timely stories, but it doesn’t look like there’s been much of a demand created in the marketplace for this movie.

1. Salt: $38 million

Jolie, who replaced Tom Cruise as the star of the film before shooting began, is the one action star both men and women like watching kick ass. So it’s no wonder that Salt is tracking well. It’s unlikely to open with the $50 million that both Wanted and Mr. and Mrs. Smith earned back in 2008 and 2005, respectively. Still, if she gets close to the $40 million that’s being predicted, she’ll cement her status as one of the remaining few bankable movie stars.

2. Inception: $35 million

Expect a 45 percent drop on Christopher Nolan’s dream-centric thriller. Audiences have been thrilled by the film, leading to really strong word-of-mouth and repeat viewings for those that didn’t get all the nuance of the film the first time around. The movie should hit at least $120 million by the end of the weekend.

3. Despicable Me: $19 million

This Steve Carell-voiced animated hit fell a scant 40 percent last weekend. Ramona and Beezus isn’t going to be much competition for Despicable in its third weekend, so I’d expect another 40 percent fall-off for the frame, which will put the film from Illumination Entertainment in the $150 million category after only three weeks in theaters.

4. Ramona and Beezus: $10 million

I’m just not sure who’s going to see this movie. The G-rated kid flick starring newcomer Joey King and pop star Selena Gomez is clearly appealing to the younger set. But with its 100-minute run time, it’s too long and talky for the under-6 set, and too wholesome and sweet for the tween crowd. That leaves a narrow 6-9-year-old demographic, which really isn’t enough for a solid opening. And with what feels like not a lot of support from Fox’s marketing department, the movie may disappear very quickly. It’s a shame, considering how long its taken for Beverly Cleary to allow her fantastic stories to be adapted for film.

5. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: $7 million

Disney must be banking on Nicolas Cage’s overseas appeal after the domestic audience stayed away from his film last weekend. The midweeks haven’t been very strong either, and the film’s total stands at $29 million as of Tuesday. Expect a 60 percent fall-off from the film’s opening weekend take of $17.6 million, way too little for a film that cost over $150 million.

In limited release, Magnolia Pictures will open the documentary Countdown to Zero about the current dangers we face from nuclear weapons, while IFC bows Todd Solondz’ latest polemic Life During Wartime.

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  • JC

    Inception should making loads more because its an awesome and epic film, and its kinda weird how when the Russian Spies in the US headlines came out near to the movie’s release, its like the FBI is trying to promote the film LOL

    • Erin

      Wonderfully written and coherent, JC.

      • dipshat

        What?

      • Ted

        It’s called sarcasm, dipshat

    • S.J.

      The way Angie looks, She looks like she’s promoting crack. =d

      • BlackIrish4094

        Agree, that girl needs to burn a j and eat some food.

    • Rosalie

      Inception is not an original concept at all. Go watch The Cell with Jennifer Lopez. It’s the same thing, Jennifer Lopez enters the minds of those who are asleep(comma). One of those happens to be a serial killer. She has to fight those people asleep in the world they created in their mind. Back in 2000, I thought it was very well written and very well acted. Anyhow, Inception’s plot is nothing new.

  • 4k4k

    Inception is everything Salt wants to be. Inception for #1!!!

    • Liz Lemon

      They’re two completely different films. You make no sense.
      I think both films will do well this weekend. Maybe I will catch a double feature. I want to see them both.

    • poop

      Salt looks like a steaming turd to me while Inception was an incredible masterpiece that is easily one of the best films in recent memory.

  • Jose

    I remember first reading the Romona Quimby books when I was young and got excited for the movie, now I lost all faith in it because it looks so bad. Thanks for ruining it for me Hollywood.
    Also, I hope Inception is number 1.

  • LOL

    Angelina rocks the party that rocks the house! Inception was good. I hope Salt is worth seeing, too.

    • Sam

      Hope is good. I’s been a while since we’ve had a good action flick. Loved Inception as well

      • Quirky

        Been a while? Didn’t you think of Inception as an action flick too? Maybe that’s what makes the movie so great. Nolan gave us such a fanastic story that we didn’t even realize we were watching a shoot-em-up, crazy car chasing action movie.

      • Liz Lemon

        Isn’t Inception more of a “psychological thriller” than an action film?

      • Sam

        Chill Q, I too enjoyed Inception but never considered it to be an action flick but rather a sci-fi or what Liz pointed out, a PT….Sorry for the typo on my firs post, Damn iP4!

      • Addy

        @Liz Lemon: It tries to be, but mostly it’s just an action film. A good one, but an action film nonetheless. Leo’s last film, “Shutter Island”, better fit the bill as a psychological thriller.

  • Des

    Maybe when she start gaining her weight back, ’til then, I have no desire to watch a broom stick with a gun.

    • Joe

      Haiti is throwing a fundraiser to feed Angie

    • Danni

      i thought i was the only who noticed how thin Angelina has been looking. i hope she is well…

      • Sam

        I hope so too. She look like she’s sick more than anything.

      • Woot

        Maybe she is… i don’t know… stressed? I mean if I had six kids, and had to make movies I would probably be a little stressed. Lay off the woman.

      • Woot

        Though Danni and Sam at least threw in “hope she is well” which was nice.

      • @Woot

        Okay, I HOPE she’s not on crack.

    • BlackIrish4094

      Yeah, she is damn thin and no one can say this is a healthy look. Just look at her hands. Even back in Wanted in the scene where you see the tat on her back she’s already too bony.

  • don

    I loved Inception! I’ve seen it twice already! I understood it the first time, but it’s amazing how much more you pick-up in the second viewing. It’s definately the best film of the summer. For all you people complaining it’s too boring and complex to understand, go see Grown-Ups or Cats and Dogs 2. Maybe those will be more your speed.

    • Gabby

      “For all you people complaining it’s too boring and complex to understand, go see Grown-Ups or Cats and Dogs 2. Maybe those will be more your speed.”

      …No one here is, but I’m glad you got to satisfy your apparent need to be condescending.

  • Brad

    Salt should be #1. Inception is just hype.. there’s nothing to it!

    • Quirky

      Salt seems like nothing more than a female Bourne rip off. Inception was something unique that I’d never seen before on film.

      • @Quirky

        I’m not hating on Inception fans, but YOU sir are starting to get quite a bit annoying. You remind me of all Twilight Lovers and/or Haters. Most spy movies have recycled plots, even Bourne but it doesn’t mean they can’t make a good and succesful movie out of it, just like all comic book related films have the same plot but their success varies. Wait until you see the movie before you start complaining.

      • Fairfield

        @ “@Quirky”

        Salt looks like crap, who wants to see a female bourne rip off. The previews are hysterical “who is salt” “I’m evelyn salt.”

        “Salt” is nothing more than a FLOP. It has nothing on Inception.

      • JT

        @ Fairfield – You need to go out more buddy, to have that much aggression over a movie debate is a little frigtening. I can see Twilight fans doing it, but that’s because they’re mostly teenagers. What’s your excuse?

    • ani

      Salt looks terrible. Wanted was also terrible. Angelina should pick better roles because she is going to turn into the next Milla Jovovich (although, I actually like Milla much more than Angelina, those movies she does are just tired. and yet…I will still end up seeing the next resident evil)

  • Devon

    to me sorry but inception suck it is the first movie i have ever walked out on it tries to hard to like memento and big and epic next time nolan want to make a film make sure u try hard on character development because why dha hell was ellen page and joseph gordon-levitt were in that film idk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! stick to batman

    • MaxPowers82

      How can you complain about the lack of character development in a movie that you walked out on? That makes no sense. I’ll admit that the development for Ellen Page and JGL’s characters was a bit flimsy, but you can’t complain about the character development in a movie that you didn’t even watch.

      • Devon

        I SAW ENOUGH OF THE MOVIE TO KNOW ABOUT THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND YES I UNDERSTOOD MEMENTO AND BATMAN IT U IDIOTS WHO OVER THINK IT AND OVER HYPE IT ITS JUS A FILM U GUYS THINK OF IT AS THE BIBLE AND CHRIS NOLAN IS OVERRATED I WOULD PICK A JAMES CAMERON FILM OVER IT EVEN PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON

      • Fairfield

        LOL think of it as the BIBLE lol nobody seems to be. It is a unique mind blowing experience the story is just amazing and has never been done before which is refreshing it is something we need in Hollywood today I am sick of watching movies like James Cameron’s AVATAR WHICH IS ONLY BASED ON HYPE TALK ABOUT POOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. MAYBE WATCH A WHOLE MOVIE BEFORE MAKING LAME COMMENTS ABOUT A MOVIE YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ALL OF. biggest pet peeve is from people like you that watch an hour of the movie and go oh i dont understand the movie so I will go and write on Entertainment Weekly’s Box Office Preview and blame character development.

      • Blaaake!

        oh yeah, because typing in all caps certainly gives your argument validity.

        Did you even attend school? Why do you write in run-on sentences? Is it supposed to be a stream of consciousness? Perhaps you should have directed the movie… oh wait, you can’t even get your point accross; I doubt you could direct a movie like Inception, much less comprehend it when watching it.

      • Woot

        Also writing u instead of you makes you sounds super smart.

      • ani

        @ Blaaaake!. While I totally agree with your main point and I find this fool Devon to be…well..a fool, I think you’re point is not coming across very clearly either. When you say “I doubt you could direct a movie like Inception, much less comprehend it” you are using this incorrectly. Obviously this guy couldn’t direct the movie. I think a more appropriate way to describe it might be: “I doubt you could figure out the plot of Dumb and Dumber, much less comprehend the intricacies of Inception” Or something to that effect, in order to show just how idiotic this guy is.

      • Blaaake!

        dear ani…
        I don’t think it’s possible to roll one’s eyes far back enough to show how dumb your comment was.. either bring it and be sure of what you’re going to say or be quiet and stand on the sidelines but don’t come at anyone with “or something to that effect”

        Thanks but I’ll stick to my original comment.

    • Fallon

      Based on your grammar, I don’t think anyone is surprised you didn’t like it

      • J

        I doubt he understood Memento or Batman for that matter.

    • sarCC

      LOL Seriously, guys…is this the first troll you’ve ever encountered?

  • Snafs

    I think Nicole Sperling is the one on crack. ‘Inception’ will easily retain the top spot this weekend.

  • Jason

    Sir, where do you get your numbers from. As of wednesday, Inception had made 91M bucks already and it is likely to hit hundred before you add on the second weekend totals. It is likely to hit 140m bucks by sunday. you are off by 20 million bucks. plus most of the polls online, Inception is overwhelmingly the favorite pic for the weekend treat so I have no idea where you get these figures. You should not get paid for this under researched, wait not researched at all, work of yours.. shame on you….

  • Creighton

    What the hell is “even a paul thomas anderson movie” supposed to mean? He and Nolan are the two most exciting young directors working right now ( just interesting,both of them love kubrick, a good director to have as a role model.)

    • Ashleigh

      Hm, I find it hard to argue that Nolan is more exciting than Darren Aronofsky. And, my god, the Kubrick comparisons need to stop (not talking to you, specifically, but every other Nolan fanboy on the planet who won’t shut up about it). It’s insulting. We just went through this overblown fanboy hysteria with Avatar. In this case, impressive special effects + having to actually use your brain does not a Kubrick movie make.

    • BlackIrish4094

      Aranofsky is so overrated. Nolan is clearly a better director without even getting into Inception. The Prestige blows any Aranofsky movie away. And PT Anderson is also a better director than Aranofsky although I know it would be s atretch to call his movies exciting by any stretch but terrific films nonetheless.

  • david

    Can you guys stop calling Inception a mind-blowing, unique experience? There’s nothing amazing, post CGI era about any film coming out nowadays. The hype and hyperbole is as ridiculous as that coming from the Double-Rainbow guy.

    • Tanya

      Hype and hyperbole are the same thing.

      • Blaaake!

        lol! you tell him, Tanya.

    • BlackIrish4094

      That’s your opinion, ever think you’re just cyncical and jaded?

  • JJ

    LOL….Salt will bomb badly

    • CountryClub

      I think you’re right. When did Jolie become a bankable star? She hasn’t had a hit in years. And even her last big movie (Mr & Mrs Smith) was driven by the love triangle publicity.

      • Sam

        and even that movie sucked!

      • tlctaurus

        You are wrong. Angelina opened Wanted to 50+ million in 2008. She is the only actress that has repeated proven she can open an action movie. That is not opinion. Just fact.

      • ani

        yeah, she can open really sh*tty action movies. how admirable and talented of her.

  • Mark

    Salt is NOT tracking well. Every heard of Box Office Magazine, EW? They’re your competition and they do a much better job of predicting box office than you do and they say the tracking on Salt is bad. and are predicting a bad weekend for the movie you picked as number one.

    • Gabby

      “Every heard of Box Office Magazine, EW? They’re your competition and they do a much better job of predicting box office than you do”

      Well I should hope so. With a name like “Box Office Magazine” they don’t really have a choice.

  • Sydney

    Inception was great but Salt is completely different. It is like comparing Buffy to Desperate Housewives. Angie is still one of my favorites so I will see this, in my eyes nothing beats Angie with a gun, can’t help it she totally rocks my world, still.

    • Gabby

      I agree. We should be celebrating that Inception is being followed up by a decent movie, and that we’ve therefore had two consecutive weekends of not sucking.

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