Angelina Jolie in 'Salt'Two of today's most popular movie stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie, go head-to-head at the box office this weekend, when Jolie's new spy thriller 'Salt' takes on last week's champ, DiCaprio's sci-fi mind-twister 'Inception.' DiCaprio has the edge, but Jolie is going to give him a run for his money.

There's also a new kids' movie opening wide, 'Ramona and Beezus,' but in an already crowded family market, it'll be lucky to finish in fourth place.

After last weekend's easy victory, 'Inception' has continued to perform well at the box office throughout the week. As the kind of puzzler viewers will want to see a second time in order to unravel its mysteries, it's expected to lose only a third or so of its business this weekend. Predictions range from $35 to $41 million, which should be enough for a second straight win. Angelina Jolie in 'Salt'Two of today's most popular movie stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie, go head-to-head at the box office this weekend, when Jolie's new spy thriller 'Salt' takes on last week's champ, DiCaprio's sci-fi mind-twister 'Inception.' DiCaprio has the edge, but Jolie is going to give him a run for his money.

There's also a new kids' movie opening wide, 'Ramona and Beezus,' but in an already crowded family market, it'll be lucky to finish in fourth place.

After last weekend's easy victory, 'Inception' has continued to perform well at the box office throughout the week. As the kind of puzzler viewers will want to see a second time in order to unravel its mysteries, it's expected to lose only a third or so of its business this weekend. Predictions range from $35 to $41 million, which should be enough for a second straight win.

'Salt' features Jolie doing what her fans seem to enjoy best: non-stop action heroics. The spy tale has a twisty plot, but nowhere near as byzantine as 'Inception's'. Besides being easier on the brain, 'Salt' also has a PG-13 rating and a brief running time, so younger viewers won't be turned away, and theaters can probably squeeze in an extra screening each day. On the other hand, those expecting Jolie to display her sexier side will be disappointed; she's all business in 'Salt.' Despite its similarity to real-life recent headlines about Russian sleeper spies, the movie's old-school Cold War plot may strike some viewers as old hat. Jolie's appeal to both sexes and a 3,400-screen debut should ensure solid numbers between $34 and $38 million, but not enough to overtake 'Inception.'

Ramona and Beezus'Ramona and Beezus' offers the first real test of Disney tween princess Selena Gomez' box office drawing power. She's Beezus, the older and more uptight of the two sisters in this adaptation of Beverly Cleary's classic children's books (newcomer Joey King plays mischievous little Ramona). Gomez' star power, the movie's G rating, and multigenerational fondness for the Cleary books are all points in the movie's favor, but it's trying to squeeze into a saturated family market with such still-viable options as 'Despicable Me,' 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice,' and 'Toy Story 3.' Also, boys probably won't be too interested. Opening on 2,700 screens, 'Ramona' should earn between 8 and 11 million, good for fourth or fifth place.

In fact, 'Despicable' and 'Apprentice' will still be jockeying for positions in the top 5. 'Despicable' should easily take third place in its third week. A decline of about a third would mean another $21 million. In its second week, 'Apprentice' is expected to dip about 45 percent for a take around 10 million, vying for fourth place against 'Ramona and Beezus.'

Top five predictions:
1. 'Inception,' $37.8 million
2. 'Salt,' $35.6 million
3. 'Despicable Me,' $20.7 million
4. 'Ramona and Beezus,' $9.3 million
5. 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice,' $9.2 million

•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.