'Kung Fu Panda 3' opens to lead North American box office

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"Kung Fu Panda 3" debuted this weekend and proved the irresistible power of panda at the North American box office.

The 3D computer animated sequel from Fox and DreamWorks Animation opened at 3,955 locations in United States and Canada and was estimated to be on track to sell 41 million U.S. dollars in tickets, according to box office tracker Rentrak on Sunday.

However, "Kung Fu Panda 3" debuted 21 percent below the 52.1 million dollars debut of last year's DreamWorks' animated film "Home" and 14 percent below the 47.7 million dollars opening weekend take of 2011's "Kung Fu Panda 2."

"Kung Fu Panda 3" received a strong "A" rating from first-night moviegoers on CinemaScore and got a good 80 percent approval rating from critics on Totten Tomatoes.

As there is no other new family film going into wide release during the month of February, the good reviews is a good sign for "Kung Fu Panda 3" going forward.

The Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu directed film "The Revenant" which starring Leonardo DiCaprio is in its sixth week of exhibition.

"The Revenant" was in second place with an estimated 12.4 million dollars in sales this weekend, which was down a slim 23 percent compared with last week's ticket sales. The film has grossed over 138.1 million dollars after 24 days of wide release.

Disney's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" claimed third place with an estimated 10.8 million dollars. The seventh chapter of the "Star Wars" franchise was down 23 percent from last weekend's deflated performance.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was playing in 809 fewer locations this weekend than it was last weekend. The film has got 895.4 million dollars in total ticket sales in North America.

Rounding out the rest 10 most-popular movies in the United States this weekend were "The Finest Hours" (10.3 million dollars), "Ride Along 2" (8.3 million), "The Boy" (7.9 million), "Dirty Grandpa" (7.6 million), "The 5th Wave" (7 million), "Fifty Shades of Black" (6.2 million) and "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" (6 million).

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