Los Angeles (AFP) - 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 watcher Exhibitor Relations said Monday.
The movie follow-up to the hit TV series about a British upper-class family and their stately home had the lowest budget of the three new releases, at a reported $20 million.
But the film from Focus Features finished a cut above its rivals by taking $31 million in ticket sales over its opening weekend.
With a plot built around a royal visit, the movie was deemed "satisfyingly sumptuous" by the Hollywood Reporter, and "an overstuffed guilty pleasure" by The Washington Post.
Fox's "Ad Astra" was a distant second at $19 million. Pitt plays an astronaut sent on a dangerous mission at the edge of the solar system.
Lionsgate's ultra-violent "Rambo: Last Blood," not aided by disastrous reviews, was third with $18.9 million.
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 million in ticket sales.
The 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, with $16.8 million.
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" ($2.7 million)
"Good Boys" ($2.6 million)
"Angel Has Fallen" ($2.4 million)
"Overcomer" ($1.5 million)
"Hobbs & Shaw" ($1.5 million)