Cast member Dev Patel arrives for the premiere of the film "Chappie" in New York March 4, 2015. (Reuters Photo/Lucas Jackson)

'Chappie' Whirs to Top of North American Box Office

MARCH 09, 2015

Los Angeles. Artificial intelligence thriller "Chappie" about a robot that learns to think and feel, debuted at the top of the North American box office over the weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The droid, who is stolen from police and reprogrammed, stars alongside Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver in the dystopian romp, which took in $13.3 million, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

The film kicked last weekend's top earner, con-artist flick "Focus," into second place. The dark comedy, starring Will Smith as a crook who takes on a protege played by Margot Robbie, raked in $10 million.

Debuting in third with $8.6 million was sequel "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," featuring an all-star, if aging, cast including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton and Richard Gere.

The tale of retirees staying in an expanding hotel in Jaipur, India, also stars Dev Patel as the facility's manager, in his second weekend box office debut.

Falling to fourth was British spy film "Kingsman: The Secret Service" with $8.3 million, while children's animated romp "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" trailed behind with $7 million.

Racy bondage tale "Fifty Shades of Grey," which saw a record February opening, meanwhile slid into sixth place.

The erotic tale of billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and his sadomasochistic relationship with college graduate Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) took in $5.6 million.

Kevin Costner sport drama "McFarland, USA," the story of a small-town cross-country team made of students from immigrant families, was in seventh place with $5.3 million in its third week out.

Landing in eighth with $5.1 million was horror flick "The Lazarus Effect," about medical students who discover a way to bring people back to life.

Teen comedy "The Duff" fell one spot to ninth, pulling in $4.9 million.

And Vince Vaughn comedy "Unfinished Business" debuted to the tune of $4.8 million, in tenth.

Agence France-Presse