King LeBron reigns again as new 'Space Jam' tops North America box office
Basketball superstar LeBron James is seen arriving at the world premiere of "Space Jam' in Los Angeles, CA (AFP)

New Warner Bros. release "Space Jam: A New Legacy" rocketed to the top of the North American box office over the weekend, taking in $31.7 million in the best showing of a family film since Covid first hammered the industry.

The live action/animated movie -- a sequel nearly 25 years after the original "Space Jam" with Michael Jordan -- has NBA superstar LeBron James teaming up with Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters in a high-stakes basketball game against a rogue artificial-intelligence entity threatening his son.

The film's strong performance, which came despite middling-to-terrible reviews -- the New York Post called it an "abomination" -- propelled it past last weekend's leader, Disney superhero film "Black Widow."

That Marvel Studios production, starring Scarlett Johansson, took in $25.8 million in the Friday-through-Sunday period, down sharply from its $80.4 million opening, according to industry watcher Exhibitor Relations.

In third place was Sony's psychological thriller "Escape Room: Tournament of Champions," at $8.8 million. Taylor Russell and Logan Miller, reprising their roles in 2019's "Escape Room," face a series of deadly traps and puzzles set by the evil Minos.

Fourth place went to Universal's "F9: The Fast Saga," at $7.7 million, bringing the four-week domestic total of the Vin Diesel/John Cena action thriller to almost $155 million.

And in fifth was Universal's animated "Boss Baby: Family Business," at $4.7 million.

Further down the top 10, "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain" -- the Focus Features/CNN Films movie about the world-traveling chef -- had the best opening of a documentary this year, at just short of $2 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

"The Forever Purge" ($4.1 million)

"A Quiet Place: Part II" ($2.2 million)

"Roadrunner" ($2 million)

"Cruella" ($1.2 million)

"Pig" ($970,000)