I often curse American TV audience for keeping complete garbage on the air while ignoring ambitious, brilliant fare that has no choice but to slink away after a couple of seasons. It happens so often that it's painful to commit to a great new show, knowing how hard it is for intelligent programming to find a public. Maybe it's just perception, but I feel like moviegoers let me down less frequently than boob tube viewers. On the big screen, sometimes ambition gets rewarded rather than punished. Case in point: Inception, which not only rode the coattails of a great marketing campaign to a big weekend opening, but actually held on to the top spot for a second week in a row, dropping only 30% (rare for a major blockbuster) and edging toward $150 million.

I note that Inception is maybe the most audacious, uncompromising, bewildering movie to ever be budgeted in the nine figures. But people seem to be getting it, in a big way. It will, deservingly, end up as one of the summer's biggest hits.

Its main competition over the weekend was Salt, a return to populist form for Patriot Games director Philip Noyce, who had been trending arthouse lately with The Quiet American, Rabbit-Proof Fence and Catch a Fire. I half suspected that Salt would end up as the One That Got Away this summer, getting lost in the shuffle, but no, or at least not really: it ended up with a more than respectable $36 million in second place. The weekend's family offering, Ramona and Beezus, was probably too low-key to really compete smack in the middle of summer, but the tiny film will probably be content with its $8 million bow.

Click through for more and the full top 10.