For the second straight week, Sunday estimates for the weekend's top movie were off by millions of dollars.
Monday actuals showed Warner's "Inception" grossed $62.8 million this weekend, up $2.4 million over the studio's opening-weekend estimate issued Sunday.
Last week, Universal was $3.7 million too high on 3D-animated "Despicable Me," with the film grossing $56.4 million upon official tally.
Sunday box office report:
Christopher Nolan strikes again.
Directing a weighty sci-fi movie with a nearly two-and-a-half-hour runtime, the "Dark Knight" filmmaker's latest effort, "Inception," debuted to $60.4 million at the domestic box office this weekend, according to studio estimates.
That was the high side of pre-release forecasts for the $160 million thriller, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a corporate espionage expert who steals data from sleeping big-wigs. The film was co-financed by Warner and Legendary Pictures.
"It's been quite a year for Leonardo DiCaprio," said Warner distribution president Dan Fellman, noting that the actor broke his all-time opening mark of $40.2 million, set in February with Martin Scorsese film "Shutter Island."
Debuting in seven international markets, "Inception" also took in an estimated $15.6 million abroad.
Overall, the PG-13-rated "Inception" scored a B-plus grade from customer satisfaction survey firm CinemaScore.
"There were those who found the film a little hard to understand," Fellman conceded.
However, the feeling in exhibition industry is that the film will have an extended play.
Big-screen digital chain IMAX, which made $7 million this weekend playing "Inception" on 197 screens, has the movie booked for six weeks.
"You can just tell by the Saturday gross that it's going to play," said IMAX film president Greg Foster.
Meanwhile, finishing second was Universal animated 3D movie "Despicable Me," which dropped just 42 percent to $32.7 million. The film has a two-week domestic total of $118.4 million. It has grossed another $11.3 million playing within seven international territories.
In third place was Disney's "Sorcerer's Apprentice," which finished with a three-day total of $17.4 million. Debuting Wednesday, the $150 million Jerry Bruckheimer-produced fantasy film — which re-teams the "Treasure Island" duo of director Jon Turteltaub and star Nicolas Cage — grossed just $24.5 million.
Baring massive reception overseas, "Sorcerer's" will be the third consecutive Bruckheimer miss at the box office.
The power-hitting producer's 2009 gerbil-themed 3D movie "G-Force" yielded only $292.8 million globally, which didn't leave much after a $150 million production spend and over $100 million in worlwide prints and advertising costs.
Meanwhile, May's "Prince of Persia" grossed $326.6 million on a $200 million production budget, rendering the same nil profit margin.
Of course, with Bruckheimer's next "Pirates of the Caribbean movie, "At World's End," set for a 3D debut next May, Disney could recoup any recent losses pretty fast.
In fourth place in its third weekend of release, Summit's "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" dropped 56 percent to $13.5 million, upping its domestic cume to $264.9 million. Last November's "Twilight Saga: New Moon" had $255.4 million after three weekends.
In fifth place, Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 3" dropped nearly 44 percent to $11.7 million, giving it a whopping $362.7 million after five weeks in U.S. and Canadian theaters.
Finishing sixth, Sony Adam Sandler movie "Grown Ups" also continued to roll, wracking up another $10 million and upping its four-week domestic total to $129.3 million. It experienced only a 36 percent week-to-week drop.
Paramount's M. Night Shyamalan 3D family film "The Last Airbender" finished seventh, dropping 54 percent to $7.5 million. The movie has $114.8 million after three weeks of release, but foreign-market performance will undoubtedly determine whether Paramount's franchise goals are met.
In eighth place, Fox's "Predators" grossed $6.8 million — a big 72 percent drop — giving the Robert Rodriguez-produced sci-fi thriller $40.1 million after two weeks. The movie cost only $38 million to shoot.
Finishing ninth, Fox Tom Cruise action-thriller "Knight and Day" dropped 54 percent in week four to $3.7 million, upping the $107 million film's cume to $69.2 million.
Sony's "Karate Kid" rounded out the top 10, grossing $2.2 million in its sixth weekend. It's now grossed $169.2 million in North America.