In today's L.A. Times, Ben Fritz and Claudia Eller skeptically assess the box-office prospects of Christopher Nolan's Inception, wondering whether audiences will embrace a high-concept, adult-targeted, 2-D non-sequel not based on a toy, board game, or comic. Even though its star, Leonardo DiCaprio, is among the world's most famous people, it's been a while since he made a Titanic, so in advertising Warner Bros. has opted to emphasize Nolan's involvement ( "From the Director of The Dark Knight") over DiCaprio's. The movie's expected to open to a not-bad $40 to 50 million this weekend — but could it have earned more if the studio had hired one of the stars it had originally wanted?
In a blog post at Hero Complex, Fritz says WB boss Jeff Robinov told him that they'd once considered casting Will Smith or Brad Pitt, both of whom have more consistent box-office track records internationally. Also, Smith might have been persuaded to do a tie-in rap song for the Inception soundtrack. Alas!