Inception’s estimated $43.5m number one hold in North America saw the sci-fi thriller race towards the $150m mark after barely two weeks in play.

Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures’ high-concept release fell a mere 31% and on this form should have little trouble soaring past $200m by the end of next weekend.

That meant Sony’s Angelina Jolie action thriller Salt had to settle for second place on a fine $36.5m launch, proving once again that Jolie is arguably Hollywood’s most bankable female star on current showing.

Live Schreiber also stars in the tale of a CIA operative accused of being a Russian spy, and Phillip Noyce directed.

Despicable Me is growing into a much needed solid hit for Universal and ranks third in its second weekend after adding $24.1m for an impressive $161.7m. Disney enjoyed mixed fortunes with its two top five releases. Toy Story 3 held on to fifth place and stands at a magnificent $379.5m after six weekends, while The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in fourth place has managed only $ 42.6m after two.

Fox’s family comedy Ramona And Beezus adapted from Beverly Cleary’s novels opened in sixth place on $8m.

Focus Features continued to impress with its Sundance pick-up The Kids Are All Right, which ranks 11th and added $2.6m for $4.9m in its third weekend after expanding the footprint by 163 theatres to 201.

Next weekend’s wide releases are Warner Bros and Village Roadshow’s family sequel Cats And Dogs: Revenge Of Kitty Galore voiced by a cast that includes Christina Applegate and Michael Clarke Duncan; Universal’s drama Charlie St Cloud starring Zak Efron; and DreamWorks’ comedy remake Dinner For Schmucks starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd which Paramount is releasing.

Estimated Top 10 North America July 23-25 2010

Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (1) Inception (Warner Bros) WBPI $43.5m $143.7m

2 (-) Salt (Sony) SPRI $36.5m –

3 (2) Despicable Me (Universal) UPI $24.1m $161.7m

4 (3) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $9.7m $42.6m

5 (5) Toy Story 3 (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $9m $379.5m

6 (-) Ramona And Beezus (Fox) Fox Int’l $8m –

7 (6) Grown Ups (Sony) SPRI $7.6m $142.2m

8 (4) The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit) Summit Int’l $7m $279.7m

9 (7) The Last Airbender (Paramount) PPI $4.2m $123.3m

10 (8) Predators (Fox) Fox Int’l $2.9m $46.6m