Inception: Too intimidating?

While it's setting box offices alight elsewhere around the world, the highly anticipated heist thriller Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a thief skilled in the art of extracting information from his targets' dreams, had to settle for second place at the South African box office this week.

Meanwhile, in the US, Inception has fought off competition from Angelina Jolie's latest action thriller Salt to maintain its top spot for the third week in a row. If not Inception, then what are South Africans watching? As was the case last week, local audiences have put Shrek Forever After at the top. While SA movie trends hardly ever mirror those in North America or Europe, we can officially call Inception's opening performance a bit underwhelming. Why is this the case? It's especially curious when one considers that Inception's director, Christopher Nolan, is the same man responsible for one of the highest-grossing movies this decade – The Dark Knight.

Has the nearly universal acclaim for Nolan's complex, mysterious epic turned some people off? Are South Africans playing it safe and waiting for the hype to die down? Or is the prospect of getting lost in someone else's dreamworld asking too much of a country that would rather help Leon Schuster's Schuks Tshabalala's Survival Guide to South Africa laugh its way to a staggering R37 million windfall over just 10 weeks on circuit? That’s a lot by SA movie standards by the way.

We'll be keeping a very close eye on this one, that's for sure.

Shrek Forever After has also benefitted from playing in 40 more theatres than Inception. This has also helped Tom Cruise's latest action comedy Knight and Day stay steady in the third spot, while The Twilight Saga: Eclipse continues to bleed the competition dry, with R26 million in its back pocket - enough to keep it at # 4. The only other new entry in the Top 10 is Our Family Wedding, starring Ugly Betty's America Ferrera as a woman whose wedding plans are derailed by her father's feud with her prospective in-laws.

So it might be cold out there, but the movies are still  the place to spend your time and money. If our glowing review was not enough of a hint, then let me make it clear: Inception is THE movie to see this year. It's beautifully filmed, features a ridiculously good-looking cast, and will twist your brain into many delightful little knots. It's unlike anything we've ever seen.

Do you really want to be the one person in your circle of friends who hasn’t seen it yet?

Top 10 SA box office (for the week ending 1 August)

1. Shrek Forever After
2. Inception
3. Knight and Day
4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
5. Toy Story 3
6. Schuks Tshabalala's Survival Guide to South Africa
7. Death at a Funeral
8. Our Family Wedding
9. A Nightmare on Elm Street
10. She's Out of My League
(Source: Nu Metro)

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