LOS ANGELES, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- In another bleak weekend for theaters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony's release of "Monster Hunter" took the top spot at the North American box office with an estimated 2.2-million-U.S.-dollar debut from 1,736 locations, according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore.
Comscore noted that only 34 percent of all North American theaters are currently open.
Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, the fantasy action film stars his wife Milla Jovovich, known for her action heroine roles in the Resident Evil movies and other sci-fi films.
The film, based on the video game series of the same name by Capcom, follows a team of elite military members led by Captain Artemis, played by Jovovich. When an unexpected sandstorm transports the unit to a new world of dangerous and powerful monsters, the soldiers are forced to fight for survival in desperate battles.
"Monster Hunter" was produced by companies including Germany's Constantin Films, Anderson's Impact Pictures, China's Tencent Pictures and Japan's Toho.
The film holds an approval rating of 48 percent based on 46 reviews to date on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.
Universal and DreamWorks' animated adventure comedy film "The Croods: A New Age" slid to second place with 2 million dollars from 1,906 locations in its fourth weekend.
The film has grossed 27 million dollars in North America for a global total of 84.5 million dollars to date.
The Chinese mainland has fueled the bulk of the film's overseas box office with 326 million yuan (around 49.87 million U.S. dollars) after 25 days of launch, according to the major Chinese film database Maoyan.
Helmed by Joel Crawford in his feature directorial debut, "The Croods: A New Age," with a reported budget of 65 million dollars, features the voice talent of returning stars, including Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.
The sequel to 2013's original film follows the prehistoric Crood family who sets off into the world in search of a safer place to live and meets another family that's a couple of steps above the Croods on the evolutionary ladder.
Lionsgate's thriller film "Fatale" opened in third place with 925,000 dollars from 1,107 locations.
Directed by Deon Taylor and starring Academy award winner Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy and Mike Colter, the film follows a married man who is tricked into a murder scheme by a female police detective.
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