"Minions" had been the top animated opener previously in China with $50 million in its first eight days.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - "Kung Fu Panda 3" kicked its way to the top of the North American box office with a respectable $41 million, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday.
So far, the seventh installment in the space saga has brought in $895 million domestically and $1.98 billion worldwide at the box office.
This time, Kung Fu Panda 3 is on track for a better run than its predecessors, simply because it'll have more time in theaters.
Recently released The Finest Hours starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck opened with $10.3 million. Both movies have fallen well short of the original Kung Fu Panda's strong $60 million opening weekend in the summer of 2008, but given that both sequels have opened above the $40 million mark shows some staying power for the franchise.
But while Kung Panda 3 soared, this weekend's other new releases fell a little flat.
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Back in 2010, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg revealed there are six chapters in the Kung Fu Panda movie series.
Marlon Wayans' spoof "Fifty Shades of Black" generated only middling business with $6.2 million at 2,075 locations and Natalie Portman's oft-delayed western "Jane Got a Gun" was almost invisible with less than $1 million at 1,210 screens.
Holdovers "The Revenant" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" took second and third place with $12.4 million and $10.8 million, respectively. Overseas, the film pulled in a big $75 million in its debut.
The threequel is the first studio animated event film of 2014, and was produced by DWA and Oriental DreamWorks, with backing from the China Film Group.
Oscar-hopeful "The Revenant", distributed by Fox, and Disney's record-breaking "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" continued their solid performances, holding on to No. 2 and No. 3 slot.
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