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‘Ford v. Ferrari’ roars to front of N.American box office

New Fox release “Ford v. Ferrari” roared to the front in North American box offices over the weekend, taking in an estimated $31 million on an overall slow weekend, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.

The film is based on the true story of how a team at Ford under legendary designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and working with British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bales) builds a car to challenge Ferrari’s longtime dominance of France’s classic 24-hour Le Mans race.

The film garnered a rare A+ CinemaScore from viewers, the highest among new nationwide offerings, which should help it recoup its $100 million production cost, Variety reported.

In second was last week’s leader, Lionsgate’s “Midway,” with $8.8 million in Friday-to-Sunday ticket sales, just half its opening-weekend take. The PG-rated 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 $8.6 million.

The Angels’ last big-screen film, in 2003, debuted to a far more impressive $37 million. Kirsten Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska star as the trio of glamorous spies with a mission to save the world.

Paramount’s comedy “Playing With Fire” placed fourth at $8.55 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 “Last Christmas,” at $6.7 million. Emilia Clarke plays Kate, who is none too happy about 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 showing for the weekend’s top five, which took in a total $63.6 million, less than half the $143.4 earned by the top five in the year-earlier period, Exhibitor Relations said.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“Doctor Sleep” ($6.2 million)

“The Good Liar” ($5.7 million)

“Joker” ($5.6 million)

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” ($5.2 million)

“Harriet” ($4.8 million)

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