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"Monsters vs. Aliens" wins battle at box office
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The sci-fi comedy cartoon "Monsters vs. Aliens" overcame mixed reviews from top critics to conquer the North American box office with weekend sales of $58.2 million, according to estimates issued on Sunday.
Industry analysts had expected DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc's first big 3-D film to bring in around $50 million to $60 million from 4,104 theaters across the United States and Canada.
Sales from Imax Corp's 143 big-screen theaters accounted for a record $5.2 million, or about 9 percent of the total, thanks to premium pricing.
The film, featuring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Rainn Wilson, was distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. Witherspoon plays a 50-foot all newscaster recruited to help battle an alien invasion.
Just over half the notices from top critics were positive, according to Rotten Tomatoes, a website that aggregates reviews.
Also new was the horror "The Haunting in Connecticut," which came in at No. 2 with $23.0 million, playing largely with young women. The film was released by Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
Last week's champ, the Nicolas Cage thriller "Knowing," fell to No. 3 with $14.7 million, taking its 10-day total to $46.2 million. The film was released by Summit Entertainment, which is privately held.
The Paramount comedy "I Love You, Man" and the Universal Pictures caper "Duplicity," each also in their second weekends, rounded out the top five with $12.6 million and $7.6 million, respectively. Their respective totals rose to $37 million and $25.6 million. Universal is a unit of General Electric Co's NBC Universal.
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Eric Walsh)