Cavemen animated comedy The Croods topped the North American box office with $44.7 million in its first weekend in US and Canadian cinemas, according to studio estimates.
Action thriller Olympus Has Fallen also opened strongly in second place with a first weekend tally of $30.5 million.
Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman star in the film, in which North Korean terrorists invade the White House.
The Croods started out eight years ago as a co-production with British animators Aardman, scripted by Monty Python’s John Cleese.
Dreamworks took over the project – originally titled Crood Awakening – when Aardman’s five-film deal was curtailed after just two productions with the US studio.
Featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone, The Croods tells of a prehistoric family who encounter danger and strange new creatures when they are forced to quit their cave.
The film’s success saw last week’s number one movie, Disney fantasy Oz the Great and Powerful, knocked down to third place after a fortnight in pole position.
Olympus Has Fallen, whose title refers to the Secret Service codename for the US president’s Washington DC residence, performed better than some analysts predicted.
Its US release comes ahead of White House Down, another thriller with a similar premise that arrives in cinemas later this year.
The Call, a thriller starring Halle Berry as an emergency services phone operator who tries to save an abducted teenager, claimed fourth place in the chart after its second weekend in cinemas.
Its $8.7 million tally topped that of new release Admission, a comedy starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd that could only manage $6.4 million.
The weekend’s overall takings were down 34% on a year ago, when The Hunger Games opened with a record-breaking $155 million haul.
North American Top 5:
1. The Croods – $44.7 million
2. Olympus Has Fallen – $30.5 million
3. Oz the Great and Powerful – $22 million
4. The Call – $8.7 million
5. Admission – $6.4 million
Source: Hollywood.combox office, the croods