'Inception' lives dream to top box office for third week

"Inception," Leonardo DiCaprio's mindbending thriller, topped the North American box office for a third straight weekend, holding off newcomer "Dinner For Schmucks," industry estimates showed Sunday.

The sci-fi summer blockbuster - one of only a handful of original, non-sequel movies to gain that title this year - hauled in 27.5 million dollars in receipts for the weekend, for a total 193 million in its three weeks of release, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

With "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan at the helm, the flick about a thief who specializes in infiltrating dreams and stealing thoughts has wowed critics with its complex science fiction concepts.

In second place were comedians Steve Carrell and Zach Galifianakis with their zany comedy "Dinner for Schmucks," about a quest to find the dumbest guy possible to invite to a dinner meal, which took in 23.3 million dollars in its opening weekend.

"Salt," starring Hollywood's biggest female action flick superstar Angelina Jolie, about captivating CIA agent Evelyn Salt who is accused of being a Russian spy, slipped to the third spot with 19.2 million dollars in receipts.

3-D animated film "Despicable Me" meanwhile also slipped one spot, to fourth, with 15.5 million dollars in ticket sales.

The film from Universal Pictures, also stars Carell - in his second appearance in the box office chart this week - as the voice of Gru, a villain bent on snatching the moon. It has earned a strong total of 190 million dollars in its four weeks of release.

In the fifth spot was another 3-D flick "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," about a gang of adventurous, wise-cracking cats and dogs, which took 12.5 million dollars in its debut weekend.

Another new release, "Charlie St. Cloud," came right behind in sixth place, with a 12.3-million-dollar take.

The movie stars teen heart-throb Zac Efron as a man who gives up his dreams of going to university to play catch with the ghost-form of his dead younger brother, while also finding love with a beautiful girl.

"Toy Story 3" came in seventh with five million dollars in receipts and a massive seven-week total of 379.4 million dollars.

Eighth place was claimed by "Grownups," the Adam Sandler and Chris Rock comedy about a reunion of high school friends, which earned 4.5 million dollars in its sixth week.

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice," starring Nicolas Cage as a magician battling evil alongside a hapless pupil, took the ninth place with 4.3 million dollars.

Rounding out the top ten was vampire romance "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which took 3.9 million dollars over the weekend to bring its five-week total to a massive 288-million-dollars.

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