Slapstick comedy The Boss rules North American box office

Star Melissa McCarthy blows a kiss at photographers at the premiere of The Boss in Los Angeles.
Star Melissa McCarthy blows a kiss at photographers at the premiere of The Boss in Los Angeles.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The Boss, a slapstick comedy widely panned by critics, ruled the North American box office for its opening weekend, edging out blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, industry estimates showed Sunday.

Starring Melissa McCarthy, The Boss tells of a billionaire who emerges penniless from a spell in jail for insider trading and is forced to move in with a former employee.

Despite withering reviews The Boss grossed US$23.5 million across 3,400 screens for the weekend, according to estimates from industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

The Boss edged out the iconic superheroes - Batman played by Ben Affleck and Superman by Henry Cavill - who had ruled the box office for the past two weeks.

But Batman v Superman still grossed US$23.4 million for its third weekend, lifting its total domestic takings to US$296.7 million.

Third place went to animated Disney film Zootopia, about an intrepid rabbit police officer who works with a fox to solve a crime in the animal kingdom.

The movie grossed US$14.4 million, lifting its total takings to US$296 million after six weeks on the screen.

The comedy sequel My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which reunites the main cast from the 2002 hit of the same name, fell one spot to fourth with US$6.4 million.

And the first-person live-action shooter Hardcore Henry, hailed by some as a new cinematic genre, took fifth place with US$5 million.

The Russian-American production, which has divided critics, shares the aesthetic of hit video games like Halo and Call of Duty, but with real actors filmed on GoPro cameras.

Rounding out the rest of the top 10 were: - Miracles from Heaven (US$4.8 million) - God's Not Dead 2 (US$4 million) - The Divergent Series: Allegiant (US$3.6 million) - 10 Cloverfield Lane (US$3 million) - Eye in the Sky (US$2.8 million).