SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM UPDATE: These numbers will be refined in the morning. But sources have given me early North American grosses now for the Top 10. Hollywood expected Inception to hold well in the large markets and on both coasts and it did with a $43.5 million second weekend and new domestic cume of $143.6M. But Salt definitely put some pepper into Friday’s and Saturday’s box office with a $36.5 million weekend. Thanks to these big #1 & #2, the overall weekend grosses looks like $160M, or +12% from last year. The other newcomer  Ramona and Beezus joined an already crowded family film market and finished with $8 million:

1. Chris Nolan’s Inception for Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures was still the No. 1 movie for its 2nd weekend in release, inciting exactly the intense interest from watercooler talk everyone thought it would. It went into Friday having made $100+M in the U.S. and Canada in just 7 days — only the 5th film and the only original 2D movie to accomplish that this year. Inception made a big $13.2M Friday and $16.6M Saturday from 3,792 locations for a Superglue-like hold of -31% compared to its opening Friday-Saturday-Sunday for a $43.5M weekend and new cume of $143.6M. Ah, what dreamy legs for Nolan and the great cast on this $160M-budget scifi caper. Internationally, Inception had made a World Cup-slowed $16.5M going into Friday. But this weekend, it added 29 markets including Australia, France, Japan and Mexico and rolls out in about 50 territories by August 1st. I’ll have an update Sunday AM. Based on the calendar year, Warner Bros has crossed the $1 billion mark this weekend at the domestic box for an industry record of 10 years in a row.

2. Sony Pictures set a new salary high for Angelina Jolie to star in this weekend’s No. 2 movie Salt opening in 3,612 theaters. Still, the studio was gobsmacked when she set about earning every penny, whether it was long autograph-signing sessions at the pic’s premieres or making a much-hyped panel appearance at Comic-Con. That was just a few of the marketing moves Sony made to sell Salt but there were more by Jeff Blake and Marc Weinstock and their team: concocting a high-octane ad campaign, devising a 9-week episodic online game, junketeering in Washington DC with a reception/tour of the International Spy Museum, even exploiting that recent real-life Russian sleeper spy ring in the news because of its similarities to the movie plot. “The Anna Chapman story resulted in extensive off entertainment page coverage mentioning Salt,” one Sony exec explained to me.

The Philip Noyce-directed pic had been tracking extremely well for weeks by garnering solid unaided awareness overall with total awareness strongest in older females and males, followed by younger males. (Younger females were a bit behind…) Once in theaers, the well reviewed film appealed to an audience that was 53% female, and 59% of the opening weekend audience was older than 25. What other actress plays so well with both women and men, old and young? And she’s also the only high-priced actress who can open a kickass actioner right now — which is why the lead role intended for Tom Cruise underwent a sex change. And open SALT Jolie did — with a $12.6M Friday and $13.4M Saturday for a $36.5M weekend. With a supposed cost of only a little over $100M (Sony claims that’s because of production incentives from shooting back East), the studio is confident it has a hit here and overseas. Salt is opening in a few territories over the next few days (i.e. Colombia, India, Egypt, Jordan, Aruba, Jamaica, etc) while next week it releases in countries like Russia, Korea, Japan and Brazil. The film will continue to roll out all over the world through October.

3. Despicable Me (3D) (Universal) Week 3 [3,600 Theaters]
Friday $7.4M, Saturday $9.4M, Weekend $24.1M, Cume $161.7M

Another great -26% hold for Illumination’s bargain-budget toon. On the international front, pic grossed an estimated $3.2M at 597 dates in 9 territories this weekend for an early overseas cume of $17.4M. More dates abroad will roll out over the next few months. 

4. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Disney) Week 2 [3,504 Theaters]
Friday $2.9M, Saturday $4.0M, Weekend $9.6M (-45%), Cume $42.6M

Excellent 2nd week hold of -45% after a very disappointing start for Jerry Bruckheimer’s dark Nic Cage starrer. Overseas, where it needs to make the majority of its money now, it grossed $10.3M in 21 territories. But that represents only 15% of the international market as it xpands into 8 territories next week. With an international cume of $25.3M, its globale take is now $67.9M.

5. Toy Story 3 (3D) Week 6 [2,766 Theaters]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $4.0M, Weekend $9.0M, Cume $379.5M

Th pic pulled in another $62.0M from 43 territories, representing 80% of the international market. In the UK, its release (including previews) was $30.6M to garner the biggest opening weekend of all-time for an animated title and and the highest ever Disney production opening. With an international cume of $351.0M, its estimated worldwide take is $730.5M — 12th place on the highest grossing domestic films of all time.

6. The Walden Media/Fox joint venture Ramona And Beezus, based on the classic children’s books by Beverly Cleary, is another of those wonderful young girl films championed by femme filmmakers. (For this one — Elizabeth Allen, Denise Di Novi, and Alison Greenspan). Awareness and interest were solid with younger females followed by older females, while young girls had Disney Channel star Selena Gomez. Even with all this going for it, Hollywood expected Ramona to open to a $10M weekend, but the pic fetched less — $8M — after Friday’s $3M and Saturday’s $2.7M from 2,719 venues. Remember, this pic was inexpensive — just $15M.

7. Grown Ups (Sony) Week 5 [2,859 Theaters]
Friday $2.4M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $7.6M, Cume $142.4M

8. Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit) Week 4 [3,121 Theaters]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $7M, Cume $279.6M

Overseas, Eclipse tallied an estimated $20.1 from 6,580 screens in 69 territories over this past weekend with no new openings this week. The estimated international cume-to-date stands at $326.4M.

9. The Last Airbender (3D) (Paramount) Week 4 [2,127 Theaters]
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.6M,  Weekend $4.1M, Cume $123.2M

10. Predators (Fox) Week 3 [1,846 Theaters]
Friday $850K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.8M, Cume $46.5M