"Ford v. Ferrari" roared to the front in North American box offices on an overall slow weekend, taking in $31.5 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Monday.
The new Fox release starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale portrays how a team at Ford built a car to challenge Ferrari's longtime dominance of France's classic 24-hour Le Mans race in 1966.
Shot for around $100 million largely without computer-generated special effects, the film garnered a rare A+ CinemaScore from viewers, the highest among new nationwide offerings.
In second was Lionsgate's war movie "Midway," with $8.5 million in Friday-to-Sunday ticket sales.
The film looks at the pivotal naval battle between US and Japanese forces in the Pacific in June 1942.
A new chapter in the "Charlie's Angels" saga opened in third place, taking in what analysts called a disappointing $8.4 million.
The Angels' last big-screen film, in 2003, debuted to a far more impressive $37 million.
Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska star as the trio of glamorous spies.
Paramount's comedy "Playing With Fire" placed fourth at $8.3 million. John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo portray a crew of tough firefighters who rescue three unruly siblings and end up having to babysit them.
Fifth place went to Universal's early-arriving romantic comedy "Last Christmas," at $6.5 million. Emilia Clarke plays Kate, who is unhappy in her job as a department store elf until she meets handsome Tom (Henry Golding), who seems -- perhaps is? -- too good to be true.
Overall, it was a strikingly anemic weekend at the box office, which was down 40 percent from the same weekend last year, Exhibitor Relations said.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
"Doctor Sleep" ($6 million)
"The Good Liar" ($5.6 million)
"Joker" ($5.3 million)
"Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" ($4.9 million)
"Harriet" ($4.6 million)