After months of prerelease debate, Sony Picture's female-led Ghostbusters reboot arrived in theaters as neither a massive success nor the bomb some predicted, as the much-scrutinized film opened with an estimated $46 million in North American theaters, second to the holdover hit The Secret Life of Pets. The Secret Life of Pets stayed on top with $50.6 million in its second week, according to studio estimates Sunday. But all eyes were on Paul Feig's Ghostbusters, which resurrects the 1984 original with a cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. Sony, noting it was the best opening for a live-action comedy in more than a year, called the result "a triumph." Audiences, which broke down 46% male and 54% female, gave it a solid B-plus CinemaScore, reports the AP.
"There was a lot of scrutiny on the film going up to release, but the movie in the opening delivered," said a Sony exec. "We've successfully restarted a very important brand and we're just ecstatic at the results." Among new releases, Ghostbusters had the weekend largely to itself. The true-story crime drama The Infiltrator, starring Bryan Cranston, supplied a counterprogramming option from the usual summer fare, and took in $5.3 million. Woody Allen's 1930s Hollywood drama Cafe Society opened in limited release with $355,000 in five theaters. An analyst for comScore called the Ghostbusters performance "a solid and expected result. I don't think there's a referendum on whether or not an all-female cast in a movie has an impact. If people like the concept and the cast, they're going to go see the movie." (Read more box office stories.)