Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Inception''Inception' received another warm reception from moviegoers, marking a second straight box office win for Christopher Nolan's drama about reality vs. perception. It headed off an interception from challenger 'Salt,' the Angelina Jolie spy thriller about international deception.

Without exception, pundits had predicted a repeat of last week's victory for 'Inception,' but the film's estimated $43.5 million gross this weekend surpassed even the most optimistic projections. Credit positive word of mouth, striking visuals (the film earned $4.8 million on IMAX screens alone), and return viewers still trying to decipher the plot's mysteries. As a result, the Leonardo DiCaprio hit, which had enjoyed a week of strong business, dipped just 31 percent from last weekend's opening, logging the second smallest week-two dropoff of 2010. Having zoomed past $100 million in its first seven days, 'Inception' boasts a 10-day total of $143.7 million. That's more than the $128 million that DiCaprio's last hit, this year's similarly brain-bending 'Shutter Island,' earned throughout its four-month run.

'Salt' wasn't far behind, finishing second with an estimated $36.5 million debut, driven by Jolie's appeal to both men and women when she's performing the action heroics that have always been behind her biggest hits. The only thing holding it back was competition from 'Inception' as a still-viable choice for action fans.