LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Animated comedy Minions, a prequel to the Despicable Me movies featuring three tiny, villainous creatures, scored big at the North America box office over the weekend, according to industry estimates Sunday.
The caper, which tells the story of lozenge-shaped, yellow characters whose goal is to serve the most despicable master they can, debuted in the top spot with a haul of US$115.2 million (S$155.6 million), box officer tracker Exhibitor Relations said.
"Great marketing, a perfect release date and multiple high-profile product tie-ins made this a guaranteed hit and perhaps one of the most perfectly realized movie spin-offs ever," analyst Paul Dergarabedian of box office tracker Rentrak said of Minions.
The Universal film's opening was big enough to push last week's top performer, animated flick Inside Out, down to third place with US$17.1 million.
Inside Out features the voice of comedian Amy Poehler and follows young Riley as her emotions of joy, fear, anger, disgust and sadness battle it out internally as she copes with a move to a new city.
Jurassic World was unchanged in second place and pulled in another US$18.1 million, bringing the dinosaur movie's overall total to a huge US$590.7 million.
Taking the fourth spot was action-packed sci-fi fantasy Terminator Genisys, which brought in US$13.7 million in its second weekend.
Debuting in fifth place was Hollywood producer Jason Blum's latest spine-tingler, The Gallows, which earned US$10 million.
The movie, which recalls 1999's The Blair Witch Project for its hand-held camera technique, gives young actors Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos and Cassidy Gifford their first substantial roles.
In sixth position was Magic Mike XXL, a dance-themed drama about a former stripper starring Channing Tatum. It pulled in US$9.6 million in theaters over the weekend.
Ted 2, the raunchy sequel to Seth MacFarlane's comedy about a foul-mouthed teddy bear came in seventh place, bringing in US$5.6 million.
Sci-fi movie Self/less about a dying wealthy man whose consciousness is transferred into the body of a younger man, debuted in eighth place with US$5.4 million.
In ninth place was Max, a family-friendly feel-good movie about a service dog who worked with US Marines in Afghanistan, which earned US$3.4 million.
Rounding out the top 10 was CIA comedy Spy starring Melissa McCarthy, which took in US$3 million.