‘DC League of Super-Pets’ Takes No. 1 With $23 Million

The summer box office showed signs of slowing this weekend as the animated “DC League of Super-Pets” opens in theaters across North America.

The superhero spinoff about Superman’s dog earned $23 million from 4,314 locations, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Although a little less than expected, it was still enough to take first place and knock Jordan Peele’s “Nope” into second place on the second weekend.

Analysts had forecast a “DC League of Super-Pets” launch for $25 million, which was on the low end of the animated opening this summer. In June, $50.6 million for “Lightyear” was considered a massive $200 million Disney/Pixar film. Then in early July, Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” took in $107 million in its first three days.

But “Super-Pets” is more comparable to Universal’s “The Bad Guys,” which grossed about $97 million after its $23 million debut, and Paramount’s “Pause of Fury: The Legend of Hank” at $6.3 million. Much stronger than . Million debuts several weeks ago.

“This debut is a huge win for DC fans, the box office, the WB and our filmmakers,” said Jeff Goldstein, the studio’s president of domestic distribution.

“DC League of Super-Pets” was not intended to be released in the middle of the summer. Originally, “Super-Pets” was scheduled for May, while the weekend was reserved for “Black Adam,” Warner Bros. Other dwayne johnson superhero pic. But postproduction delays due to backup at the VFX house forced “Black Adam” to return in October. Instead of dropping Prime Date, the studio filled the open space with an all-star voice cast including Kevin Hart, John Krasinski, Keanu Reeves, and Kate McKinnon as an evil guinea pig with a family-friendly title.

“Super-Pets” has several weeks left of the summer break, with little competition, and hopes to continue to grow to positive response from audiences this weekend.

“Interest is red hot,” Goldstein said. “Word of mouth is extraordinary.”

Second place went to Universal’s “Nope”, which fell 57% from its debut last weekend and earned an additional $18.6 million. North American earnings for “Nope” now stand at $80.6 million, before beginning its international expansion in August.

“Thor: Love and Thunder” took third place in its fourth weekend with $13.1 million, bringing its domestic total to $301.5 million. Its global total now sits at $662 million without a release in China.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” kicked off its heels in fourth place with $10.9 million in its fifth weekend. Worldwide, it has now earned $710.4 million.

And among the top five was “Top Gun: Maverick,” which earned an additional $8.2 million in its 10th weekend, bringing its domestic total to $650.1 million.

New theatrical releases were limited this weekend. Focus Features the film “Vengeance” debuted this weekend in 998 locations, where it earned an estimated $1.8 million. BJ Novak’s directorial debut follows a podcaster (Novak) who travels from New York to West Texas to investigate the death of his girlfriend. The well-reviewed thriller stars Issa Rae and Ashton Kutcher. And Bleacher Street opened the Sundance charmer “A Love Song” starring Wes Study and Dale Dickey in four theaters, where it earned an estimated $18,702.

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Follow AP Film writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

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