Actors Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael and Allen Leech attend the world premiere of 'Downton Abbey' in London, Britain, on September 9, 2019. (REUTERS/Simon Dawson)
With aristocratic elan, "Downton Abbey" dismissed challenges from Brad Pitt's "Ad Astra" and Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo: Last Blood" to claim top box office spot in North America, industry figures showed Sunday.
Fans had waited eagerly for the movie follow-up of the global hit TV series tracking the dramas of life among a British upper-class family and the staff who serve them in their stately home.
With a plot built around a royal visit, the Washington Post review described the "Downton Abbey" movie as "an overstuffed guilty pleasure" and "eye and ear candy of the highest order: rich and delicious, but not especially nutritious."
The film emerged top of the Exhibitor Relations rankings by a distance, with an estimated $31 million in ticket sales over the weekend -- a cut above "Ad Astra", at $19.2 million.
Pitt, who plays an astronaut sent on a dangerous mission at the edge of the solar system, made a 20-minute video call to the International Space Station (ISS) chatting to American astronaut Nick Hague as part of his movie's promotion.
"Rambo: Last Blood" was a close third with $19 million, as the three new releases knocked horror flick "IT Chapter Two" off the top spot after a two-week reign, pushing it down to fourth with $17.2 million ticket sales.
The new Jennifer Lopez movie "Hustlers" -- based on a true story about strippers who plot to steal from their wealthy clients in recession-hit New York -- fell from second to fifth place, despite strong reviews.
J-Lo has won plaudits for her role with "Rolling Stone" calling her "dazzling," "electrifying" and Oscar-worthy.
Rounding out the weekend's top 10 were:
"The Lion King" ($2.5 million)
"Good Boys" ($2.5 million)
"Angel Has Fallen" ($2.4 million)
"Overcomer" ($1.5 million)
"Hobbs & Shaw" ($1.5 million)