'Downtown Abbey' the class act at N.American box office

Los Angeles (AFP) –

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With aristocratic elan, "Downton Abbey" dismissed challenges from Brad Pitt's "Ad Astra" and Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo: Last Blood" to claim top box office spot in North America, industry figures showed Sunday.

Fans had waited eagerly for the movie follow-up of the global hit TV series tracking the dramas of life among a British upper-class family and the staff who serve them in their stately home.

With a plot built around a royal visit, the Washington Post review described the "Downton Abbey" movie as "an overstuffed guilty pleasure" and "eye and ear candy of the highest order: rich and delicious, but not especially nutritious."

The film emerged top of the Exhibitor Relations rankings by a distance, with an estimated $31 million in ticket sales over the weekend -- a cut above "Ad Astra", at $19.2 million.

Pitt, who plays an astronaut sent on a dangerous mission at the edge of the solar system, made a 20-minute video call to the International Space Station (ISS) chatting to American astronaut Nick Hague as part of his movie's promotion.

"Rambo: Last Blood" was a close third with $19 million, as the three new releases knocked horror flick "IT Chapter Two" off the top spot after a two-week reign, pushing it down to fourth with $17.2 million ticket sales.

The new Jennifer Lopez movie "Hustlers" -- based on a true story about strippers who plot to steal from their wealthy clients in recession-hit New York -- fell from second to fifth place, despite strong reviews.

J-Lo has won plaudits for her role with "Rolling Stone" calling her "dazzling," "electrifying" and Oscar-worthy.

Rounding out the weekend's top 10 were:

"The Lion King" ($2.5 million)

"Good Boys" ($2.5 million)

"Angel Has Fallen" ($2.4 million)

"Overcomer" ($1.5 million)

"Hobbs & Shaw" ($1.5 million)