Kid-flick 'Paw Patrol' beats blood-soaked 'Saw' to top North America box office
A dog dress as a Pow Patrol character attends the Guinness World Record Breaking Screening in support of "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie" at the Autry Museum of the American West on September 24, 2023, in Los Angeles,California. Paramount Pictures and Best Friends broke the Guinness World Record for the "most dogs attending a film screening" with 219 dogs attending. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP)— Paramount's new children's movie "Paw Patrol 2: The Mighty Movie" bounded to the top of the North American box office this weekend, with a tail-wagging take estimated at $23 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

"This is an excellent opening," said analyst David A Gross, adding that while the "Paw Patrol" series was "not in the league of the Disney, Pixar and Illumination juggernauts," it also carried a far smaller production budget -- around $30 million -- and looks to be headed for a profitable future.

The film has the hard-working Paw Patrol pups -- now endowed with superpowers -- fighting again to save Adventure City. Voice actors include Taraji P. Henson, Chris Rock, Serena Williams and McKenna Grace.

In second place for the Friday-through-Sunday period was another new release, Lionsgate horror film "Saw X." It sold an estimated $18 million in tickets, not a bad weekend for a film made for just $13 million.

"Saw X" is the first in the violence-filled "Saw" series to score overwhelmingly positive reviews, according to Variety. Tobin Bell, as the infamous Jigsaw, this time kidnaps doctors as he takes on greedy medical con artists.

New 20th Century sci-fi thriller "The Creator" came in third, at $14 million. Its of-the-moment setting: a world where humans are at war with artificial intelligence.

John David Washington plays a special agent sent to kill the titular Creator. Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe and Allison Janney also star.

In fourth was the box office leader of the past three weekends, "The Nun II" from Warner Bros., at $4.7 million. This "Conjuring" series spinoff stars Taissa Farmiga in a tale of Gothic horror.

And in fifth was another new release, Fathom Events' faith-based "The Blind," at $4.1 million. Set in the Louisiana swamps in the 1960s, it portrays the real-life struggles of "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson with addiction and romance.

Overall, the year's box office is down 15.5 percent from last year, and this despite the huge successes of "Barbie" -- now at $800 million internationally and $1.43 billion worldwide -- and "Oppenheimer," Gross said. The rest of the year does not look a lot better, he added.

Rounding out the weekend's top 10 were:

"A Haunting in Venice" ($3.8 million)

"Dumb Money" ($3.5 million)

"The Equalizer 3" ($2.7 million)

"Expend4bles" ($2.5 million)

"Barbie" ($1.4 million)

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