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Angel Has Fallen rises to No 1 with US$21 million debut

The third chapter in the action franchise, it nearly matches the debut of its predecessor, 2016's London Has Fallen

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Gerard Butler (left) returns as Secret Service agent Mike Banning who has to clear his name after being framed for an attack on the US president (played by Morgan Freeman, right).

Los Angeles

ANGEL Has Fallen, the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millennium's action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting US$21.25 million during its first three days of release.

Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend's champ, Universal's comedy Good Boys, to second place. Starring Jacob Tremblay, Good Boys generated US$11.75 million in its sophomore outing, boosting its domestic total to US$41.4 million.

Angel Has Fallen nearly matched the US$21.6 million debut of its predecessor, 2016's London Has Fallen. The first film, 2013's Olympus Has Fallen, kicked off with US $30.4 million.

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Opening weekend crowds were virtually split across gender lines (51 per cent male), while almost 60 per cent of moviegoers were over the age of 30. Audiences awarded Angel Has Fallen with a strong A- CinemaScore, high praise compared to its 40 per cent average from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

In Angel Has Fallen, Butler returns as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, who has to clear his name after being framed for an attack on the US president (Morgan Freeman). The cast also includes Jada Pinkett Smith, Piper Perabo and Nick Nolte.

Sony's Affirm Films' Overcomer, a faith-based sports drama, debuted in third with US$8.2 million from 1,723 theatres. Directed by the Kendrick Brothers and starring Alex Kendrick, the film landed a stellar A+ CinemaScore. It carries a US$5 million price tag.

This weekend's final new wide release, Fox Searchlight's black comedy Ready or Not, opened at No 6, up US$7.6 million for the weekend for a five-day start of US$10.6 million.

The-low budget film stars Samara Weaving as a newlywed who finds out her in-laws intend to hunt her for sport.

Holdovers Disney's The Lion King and Universal's Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw filled out the top five. The Lion King landed in fourth place and earned another US$8.15 million, carrying Jon Favreau's hyper-realistic remake to US$510 million in North America. After seven weeks in theatres, The Lion King has amassed US$1.5 billion worldwide.

Starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, Hobbs & Shaw came in close behind with US$8.14 million during its fourth outing for a domestic tally of US$147 million. The movie hit a major global milestone, smashing past the US$500 million mark after debuting in China with a huge US$102 million. Hobbs & Shaw has brought in US$588.9 million worldwide to date.

Among indie releases, Amazon Studios' Brittany Runs a Marathon picked up US$175,969 from five theatres, averaging US$35,194 per location. Paul Downs Colaizzo directed from his own script. In the crowd-pleasing comedy, Jillian Bell portrays an overweight woman who signs up for a lengthy race to get her life on track. The studio is slowly expanding the movie and expects to take it nationwide after four or five weeks. Amazon bought the movie for US$14 million at Sundance.

"This weekend is a great start, and we are feeling very positive going into next weekend and the weeks to follow," said Julie Rapaport, co-head of movies at Amazon Studios.

"Audiences have laughed, cried and connected with Brittany's inspirational story - and we're confident the positive word-of-mouth will organically grow and reach theatre-goers. We're in it for the long run and excited as more audiences discover the film." REUTERS