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Abominable tops US box office with US$20.8m; Judy hits high note

Los Angeles

ABOMINABLE towered over the box office last weekend as Universal and DreamWorks' animated adventure debuted to US$20.85 million in North America and US$29.7 million worldwide.

The PG-rated movie benefited as one of the few offerings at multiplexes catering to family crowds and marked the best opening of the year for an original animated film.

Jill Culton wrote and directed Abominable, becoming the first female to independently make an animated film for a major studio. Universal's DreamWorks co-produced the movie with China's Pearl Studios. With a softer US$8.8 million start at the international box office, the two companies will rely on Chinese audiences to turn out in force (where it debuts on Tuesday) to help justify its US$75 million budget. Abominable follows a young girl named Yi (voiced by Marvel's Agents of Shield actress Chloe Bennet) who embarks on an epic journey to reunite a yeti named Everest with his family.

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As awards season kicks off, Roadside Attractions' Judy hit a high note at the specialty box office. The Renee Zellweger-led Judy Garland biopic amassed US$3 million, enough to crack the top 10 despite opening on just 461 screens.

The movie, which is already generating Oscar buzz for Zellweger's transformation into the troubled star, appealed mostly to older females. Among inaugural crowds, 60 per cent were women and nearly 80 per cent were over the age of 35.

Although Abominable was the only new nationwide offering last weekend, a number of holdovers enjoyed solid receipts. The previous weekend's box office champion, Focus Features' Downton Abbey, slid to second place on domestic charts.

The big-screen adaptation of the popular British TV series collected US$14.5 million from 3,390 theatres. After two weeks of release, Downton Abbey has earned US$58.5 million in North America.

In third place, STX's Hustlers declined just 32 per cent in its third frame, added another US$11.47 million to its domestic haul.

In a race that's currently too close to call, Warner Bros' It: Chapter Two and Disney's Ad Astra will battle it out for fourth and fifth rankings on box office charts. Based on Sunday's estimates, both films pocketed roughly US$10 million over the three-day frame.

It: Chapter Two, now in its fourth weekend of release, has made US$193 million in North America. Brad Pitt's Ad Astra has picked up US$34 million at the domestic box office.

In box office milestones, Universal's Good Boys crossed US$100 million in global ticket sales, becoming the first original R-rated comedy to surpass that benchmark since last February's Game Night. REUTERS