Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Inception'As expected, 'Inception' invaded the minds of moviegoers this weekend and grabbed a box office victory, to the tune of $60.4 million, according to studio estimates. That's more than three times the estimated $17.4 million that fellow newcomer 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' earned from Friday to Sunday.

While 'Inception' didn't quite reach the most optimistic projections, it still managed to live up to its hype as the summer film most anticipated by critics and grown-up moviegoers. Its per-screen average was $15,928, the highest of any movie currently in wide release. The brain-twisting sci-fi thriller's success seemed to confirm the notion that this summer's audiences prefer originality to uninspired sequels and retreads, and it marked another hit for writer/director Christopher Nolan ('The Dark Knight') and star Leonardo DiCaprio.

For producer Jerry Bruckheimer, however, 'Apprentice' marks the second movie this summer (after 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time') in which his Disney-ready, family-friendly action blockbuster formula has met with audience indifference. After a weak Wednesday opening and lukewarm word of mouth, the film has earned an estimated $24.5 million in five days, settling for third place at the box office. Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Inception'As expected, 'Inception' invaded the minds of moviegoers this weekend and grabbed a box office victory, to the tune of $60.4 million, according to studio estimates. That's more than three times the estimated $17.4 million that fellow newcomer 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' earned from Friday to Sunday.

While 'Inception' didn't quite reach the most optimistic projections, it still managed to live up to its hype as the summer film most anticipated by critics and grown-up moviegoers. Its per-screen average was $15,928, the highest of any movie currently in wide release. The brain-twisting sci-fi thriller's success seemed to confirm the notion that this summer's audiences prefer originality to uninspired sequels and retreads, and it marked another hit for writer/director Christopher Nolan ('The Dark Knight') and star Leonardo DiCaprio.

For producer Jerry Bruckheimer, however, 'Apprentice' marks the second movie this summer (after 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time') in which his Disney-ready, family-friendly action blockbuster formula has met with audience indifference. After a weak Wednesday opening and lukewarm word of mouth, the film has earned an estimated $24.5 million in five days, settling for third place at the box office.

Minions in 'Despicable Me'Second place went to another original movie, 'Despicable Me.' Last week's champ held up well in its second outing, losing just 42 percent of its business and taking in another estimated $32.7 million. The 3-D toon's take has totaled $118.4 million in ten days, and it's already shaping up to be one of the biggest hits of the summer. Its continued strength, along with that of 'Toy Story 3,' marked another reason why family audiences ignored 'Apprentice.'

In fourth place was the still-mighty 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.' Though it fell 57 percent this weekend, the vampire/werewolf romantic triangle still brought in another estimated $13.5 million. It's earned $264.9 million in three weeks, and it's closing in on the $296.6 million that 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' earned last fall.

At No. 5 was 'Toy Story 3,' down 44 percent to earn another estimated $11.7 million. It remains 2010's biggest hit to date, having grossed $362.7 million in five weeks.

The full top 10:
1. 'Inception,' $60.4 million (3,792 screens), new release
2. 'Despicable Me,' $32.7 million (3,501 screens), $118.4 million total
3. 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice,' $17.4 million (3,504), $24.5 million
4. 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,' $13.5 million (4,001), $264.9 million
5. 'Toy Story 3,' $11,7 million (3,177), $362,7 million
6. 'Grown Ups,' $10.0 million (3,074), $129.3 million
7. 'The Last Airbender,' $7.5 million (2,805), $114.8 million
8. 'Predators,' $6.8 million (2,669), $40.1 million
9. 'Knight & Day,' $3.7 million (1,925), $69.2 million
10. 'The Karate Kid,' $2.2 million (1,532), $169.2 million

Top 10 movies of summer 2010:
1. 'Toy Story 3,' $362.7 million
2. 'Iron Man 2,' $310.0 million
3. 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,' $264.9 million
4. 'Shrek Forever After,' $234.4 million
5. 'The Karate Kid,' $169.2 million
6. 'Grown Ups,' $129.3 million
7. 'Despicable Me,' $118.4 million
8. 'The Last Airbender,' $114.8 million
9. 'Robin Hood,' $104.8 million
10. 'Sex and the City 2,' $94.8 million

•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.