LOS ANGELES - "Star Trek Beyond" has landed atop the weekend box office.
Paramount's latest outing with the Starship Enterprise soared to $59.6 million in North American ticket sales, knocking Universal's "The Secret Life of Pets" from the No. 1 spot, according to studio estimates Sunday.
"Pets" was the second-most-popular film at theatres, adding an additional $29.3 million to its stellar $260 million earnings to date.
"Star Trek Beyond" is the third film since J.J. Abrams rebooted the franchise in 2009. Despite the latest release opening $20 million behind 2009's "Star Trek," experts say it's still promising for Paramount.
"This is a solid enough debut to tell them there's still enough interest in 'Star Trek' to keep this franchise alive," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker comScore.
He doesn't think the film was hurt by the unexpected loss of one of its stars. Actor Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov, was killed in a freak car accident last month.
"The tragic passing of Anton Yelchin made it bittersweet for fans," Dergarabedian said.
"The Secret Life of Pets" and "Ghostbusters" bested the weekend's other new releases.
Warner Bros.' low-budget horror "Lights Out" tied with "Ghostbusters" for third place with $21.6 million, while Fox's animated "Ice Age: Collision Course" debuted with $21 million.
Fox Searchlight's "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie" opened outside the top 10 with $1.8 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Final three-day domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Star Trek Beyond," $59.6 million.
2. "The Secret Life of Pets," $29.3 million.
3. (tie) "Lights Out," $21.6 million.
3. (tie) "Ghostbusters," $21.6 million.
4. "Ice Age: Collision Course," $21 million.
5. "Finding Dory," $7.2 million.
6. "The Legend of Tarzan," $6.4 million.
7. "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," $4.4 million.
8. "Kabali (Tamil & Telugu)," $4.1 million.
9. "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party," $3.7 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.