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'Ghostbusters' ices out competition as 'Dune' worms its way above $570 mn

Actor Paul Rudd poses during a photocall for 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' in London on March 21, 2024 (Ben Stansall)
Actor Paul Rudd poses during a photocall for 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' in London on March 21, 2024 (Ben Stansall)

"Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" scared its way to the top of the North American box office this weekend, taking in an estimated $45.2 million in what one analyst called a "unique and impressive opening."

"Only four other comedic series in the last 27 years have lasted five episodes," analyst David A. Gross said, with ticket sales for the latest entry in Sony's comedy series coming in "well above average for the genre."

Still, with a $100 million budget, "Frozen Empire" has a way to go to reach profitability.

Co-written by Jason Reitman, whose father Ivan Reitman directed the original "Ghostbusters" in 1984, the film teams a new cadre of ghost catchers (Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon) with the veterans (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson) as they take on a frightening deity trying to launch a new Ice Age.

Meanwhile Warner Bros.' sci-fi epic "Dune: Part Two," about war and survival in an inhospitable sand-covered planet, again managed a strong second place, taking in an estimated $17.6 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period.

It has now earned $233.3 million in the US and Canada and $341 million internationally, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported.

In third, dropping two spots from last weekend, was Universal and DreamWorks Animation's martial arts comedy "Kung Fu Panda 4," at $16.8 million.

"Immaculate," a new psychological horror film from indie studio Neon and starring Sydney Sweeney, placed fourth at $5.4 million.

Sweeney, a graduate of hit TV series "Euphoria" and recent rom-com "Anyone But You," plays a nun who -- despite her virginity -- becomes pregnant. Other nuns in her remote Italian convent at first treat her as the next Virgin Mary -- but then things start getting creepy -- very creepy.

And in fifth spot was Lionsgate's "Arthur the King," at $4.4 million. Mark Wahlberg plays an adventurer who befriends an injured stray dog.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

"Late Night With the Devil" ($2.8 million)

"Imaginary" ($2.8 million)

"Love Lies Bleeding" ($1.6 million)

"Cabrini" ($1.4 million)

"Bob Marley: One Love" ($1.1 million)

bbk/des