New 'West Side Story' is top film in North America
Rachel Zegler (L), who plays Maria in the new 'West Side Story,' posed with Rita Moreno, who was Anita in the original version and plays a drugstore owner in the new film, pose at the film's Los Angeles premiere on December 8, 2021

"West Side Story," Steven Spielberg's remake of the hugely popular 1961 movie musical, danced to the top of the North American box office in its opening weekend, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.

Spielberg's updated take on the New York-set "Romeo and Juliet" story -- complete with music, dance numbers and a storyline that first appeared on Broadway in 1957 in a legendary collaboration of composers Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim -- took in an estimated $10.5 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period.

The square-jawed Ansel Elgort -- known for his roles in "The Fault in Our Stars" and the "Divergent" series -- plays the handsome Tony, a former member of the Jets, a street gang drawn from recent European immigrants, while Rachel Zegler plays Maria, newly arrived from Puerto Rico and thus closer to rival gang the Sharks.

Critics say the movie has a chance to be the first remake since "The Departed" in 2006 to win an Oscar for best picture.

Last week's top film, Disney's animated musical fantasy "Encanto," slipped to second place, earning $9.4 million, for a three-week total of $71.3 million.

With music composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the film recounts the story of a family in rural Colombia endowed with special powers -- except for daughter Mirabel, who ends up having to save the others.

In third place was Sony's "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," the latest chapter in that supernatural franchise, at $7.1 million.

Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon and Mckenna Grace star as the ghostly tale moves from 1980s Manhattan to present-day small-town Oklahoma.

Far back in fourth place was Ridley Scott's new crime drama "House of Gucci," at $4.1 million. The film stars Adam Driver and Lady Gaga in the story of how a Gucci fashion executive was murdered by a hitman hired by his vengeful ex-wife.

Disney/Marvel superhero film "Eternals" placed fifth, at $3.1 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

"Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City" ($1.7 million)

"Clifford the Big Red Dog" ($1.3 million)

"Christmas With the Chosen: The Messengers" ($1.3 million)

"Dune" ($857,000)

"Venom: Let There Be Carnage" ($850,000)