'Schmucks' edges 'Inception' at Friday b.o.

'Salt' begins second weekend at No. 3 with $5.9 mil

The comedy "Dinner for Schmucks," in which Steve Carell turns in another goofy performance as a triumphant nerd, narrowly outpaced the fever dream that is "Inception" at the North American boxoffice on Friday.

The PG-13-rated joke-fest, directed by Jay Roach and also starring straight man Paul Rudd, took in an estimated $8.4 million for the day as it debuted in 2,911 theaters. But the new movie, produced by Universal, DreamWorks and Spyglass, could still find itself in a tight battle for the top spot as the weekend progresses, since Warners' "Inception" continues to demonstrate remarkable holding power.

Grossing about $8.2 million, Christopher Nolan's Rubik's Cube of a movie was down just 38% from its previous Friday as it entered its third weekend and could still emerge the weekend winner by the end of Sunday.

The frame's two other new openers didn't attract quite as many lookie-loos.

"Charlie St. Cloud," Universal's PG-13 supernatural-tinged romance starring Zac Efron and directed by Burr Steers, checked in in fourth place for the day with $5.6 million as it set up shop in 2,718 locations.

Warners' 3D "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," which the studio produced with Village Roadshow, bowed in the sixth spot with $4.3 million. But as the PG-movie directed by Brad Peyton plays in 3,705 theaters, the talking-animals pic could still rise in the rankings for the weekend with the help of matinee audiences.

Rounding out the leader board, "Salt," Sony's Angelina Jolie spy yarn, ranked third with around $5.9 million as it began its second weekend.

The fifth spot went to Uni's animated "Despicable Me," which also offers Carell's comic-stylings in a voice role, as it collected $4.7 million and crossed the $175 million mark.
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