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Ghostbusters in solid US box office open

Associated Press Associated Press 18/07/2016 Jake Coyle

Sony Picture's Ghostbusters reboot has arrived in cinemas as neither a massive success nor the bomb some predicted, as the much-scrutinised film opened with an estimated $US46 million ($A60.56 million) in North American cinemas, second to The Secret Life of Pets.

The Secret Life of Pets stayed on top with $US50.6 million in its second week, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

But all eyes were on Paul Feig's Ghostbusters, which resurrects the 1984 original with a cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Sony, noting it was the best opening for a live-action comedy in more than a year, called the result "a triumph."

"There was a lot of scrutiny on the film going up to release, but the movie in the opening delivered," said Josh Greenstein, president of marketing and distribution for Sony. "We've successfully restarted a very important brand and we're just ecstatic at the results."

Yet given its hefty price tag - the film cost $US144 million to make plus more than $US100 million to market - it's a relatively tepid start for Ghostbusters that will put pressure on the film to perform well overseas.

A release in China, the world's second-largest film market, is also in question. China has regulations against depictions of the supernatural in movies. Greenstein said Sony will submit the film for release "and we'll see if we get accepted or not."

Among new releases, Ghostbusters had the weekend largely to itself. The true-story crime drama The Infiltrator, starring Bryan Cranston, supplied a counter-programming option from the usual summer fare, and took in $US5.3 million. Woody Allen's 1930s Hollywood drama Cafe Society opened in limited release with $US355,000 in five cinemas.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian cinemas, according to comScore.

1. The Secret Life of Pets, $US50.6 million.

2. Ghostbusters, $US46 million.

3. The Legend of Tarzan, $US11.1 million.

4. Finding Dory, $US11 million.

5. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, $US7.5 million.

6. The Purge: Election Year, $US6.1 million.

7. Central Intelligence, $US5.3 million.

8. The Infiltrator, $US5.3 million.

9. The BFG, $US6.7 million.

10. Independence Day: Resurgence, $US3.5 million.

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