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King LeBron reigns again as new ‘Space Jam’ tops NAmerica box office

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Basketball superstar LeBron James is seen arriving at the world premiere in Los Angeles of "Space Jam: A New Legacy" on July 12, 2021, in which he stars./AFP
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Jul 20, 2021 - 09:08 AM

LOS ANGELES — New Warner Bros. release “Space Jam: A New Legacy” rocketed to the top of the North American box office over the weekend, taking in $31.7 million in the best showing of a family film since Covid first hammered the industry.

The live action/animated movie — a sequel nearly 25 years after the original “Space Jam” with Michael Jordan — has NBA superstar LeBron James teaming up with Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters in a high-stakes basketball game against a rogue artificial-intelligence entity threatening his son.

The film’s strong performance, which came despite middling-to-terrible reviews — the New York Post called it an “abomination” — propelled it past last weekend’s leader, Disney superhero film “Black Widow.”

That Marvel Studios production, starring Scarlett Johansson, took in $25.8 million in the Friday-through-Sunday period, down sharply from its $80.4 million opening, according to industry watcher Exhibitor Relations.

In third place was Sony’s psychological thriller “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions,” at $8.8 million. Taylor Russell and Logan Miller, reprising their roles in 2019’s “Escape Room,” face a series of deadly traps and puzzles set by the evil Minos.

Fourth place went to Universal’s “F9: The Fast Saga,” at $7.7 million, bringing the four-week domestic total of the Vin Diesel/John Cena action thriller to almost $155 million.

And in fifth was Universal’s animated “Boss Baby: Family Business,” at $4.7 million.

Further down the top 10, “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” — the Focus Features/CNN Films movie about the world-traveling chef — had the best opening of a documentary this year, at just short of $2 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“The Forever Purge” ($4.1 million)

“A Quiet Place: Part II” ($2.2 million)

“Roadrunner” ($2 million)

“Cruella” ($1.2 million)

“Pig” ($970,000)

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