"Inception" set to fend off three box office rookies

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:27pm EDT
 
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Leonardo DiCaprio is set to remain king of the North American box office for a third weekend, despite the arrival of three new films led by the 3D sequel "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore."

DiCaprio's dreams thriller "Inception" is likely to earn $25 million-$30 million during the three days beginning Friday. The Christopher Nolan saga boasts more than $167 million in domestic earnings entering the weekend.

Besides "Cats & Dogs," new releases include "Dinner for Schmucks," a comedy starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, and the Zac Efron paranormal fantasy "Charlie St. Cloud."

Both "Inception" and "Cats & Dogs" come from Warner Bros., which is expecting a 1-2 weekend. The first "Cats & Dogs" bowed in July 2001 with $21.7 million, and ended up with $93.4 million domestically. Expect "Kitty Galore" to open a bit higher but just below the weekend tally for "Inception."

The $85 million live-action picture features talking animals voiced by James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate, Roger Moore, Neil Patrick Harris and Sean Hayes. Brad Peyton gets a first feature-directing credit on the Village Roadshow co-production.

Director Jay Roach's "Schmucks" should do best with younger men while topping $20 million through Sunday. The Paramount-DreamWorks-Spyglass co-production totes an estimated $55 million cost.

"St. Cloud," the $44 million story of a young man (Efron) who can still see his dead younger brother, could woo as much as the midteen millions from young women. Burr Steers (Efron's "17 Again") directed the Relativity-Universal project.

In a notable expansion, "The Kids Are All Right" hits wide distribution for the first time, quadrupling to 847 theaters in its fourth weekend. Focus Features had planned to broaden the lesbian-themed comedy-drama to at least 500 locations but upped its expansion plans amid continued high screen averages and rave reviews. The film boasts a $6 million total.

In a limited bow, Sony Pictures Classics' period dramedy "Get Low" -- starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black -- opens Friday in two New York locations and two in Los Angeles.