Chasing down the top spot at the box office after debuting at No. 2 last week, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" took the lead in its second weekend.
The DreamWorks animated film about the time-traveling adventures of a genius dog and the human son he adopted earned $21.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The 3-D kiddie-jaunt features voices from "Modern Family" stars Ty Burrell and Ariel Winter.
"Our mid-week numbers were very strong indicating good and positive word of mouth," said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at Twentieth Century Fox. "If anything, this is exceeding [expectations]. It's a combination of likable characters and it's a nostalgia play for those who are familiar with the show."
Mr. Peabody and Sherman first appeared in the 1950s and early 1960s on the show "Peabody's Improbable History," a segment within the animated television series "Rocky and His Friends" and later "The Bullwinkle Show."
"The family marketplace is giving every other genre a run for its money," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. "But the St. Patrick's Day effect could be at play here, where families had to exercise their options at the theater rather than the pub. That may have paid off for 'Mr. Peabody.'"
Warner Bros.' warrior drama "300: Rise of an Empire," the 3-D sequel to the original, 2007's "300," dropped to second place with $19.1 million after debuting at No. 1 last weekend. Though its opening haul ($45.1 million) pales in comparison to the original, which debuted with $70.9 million, "Rise of an Empire" has earned more than $78 million over two weekends.
Starring "Breaking Bad" alum Aaron Paul, Disney's street racer thrill, "Need for Speed," based on the popular EA Entertainment video game, drove into third place with $17.8 million.
Another of the weekend's hits, the Liam Neeson's "Non-Stop," earned $10.6 million in its third week at the multiplex to place fourth. The Universal Pictures thriller also stars "12 Years a Slave" Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o.
Tyler Perry's "The Single Moms Club," starring Nia Long and Amy Smart, rounded out the top five, opening with $8.3 million.
"This is one of Tyler Perry's lowest debuts ever, but he cranks out hits every year for almost decade," Dergarabedian said. "He's allowed a couple of missteps every once in a while."
Continuing to hold a spot in the top 10, Warner Bros.' "The Lego Movie" came in at No. 6, gaining $7.7 million in its sixth weekend. That brings the stop-motion 3-D animation's domestic total to $236.9 million.
Leading the year's early trend of films about religion, Fox's "Son of God" grossed $5.4 million in its third weekend. Russell Crowe's "Noah" will continue the biblical thread at the theater on March 28. The Ridley Scott-directed "Exodus," starring Christian Bale as Moses, will debut later this year.
Playing in only 66 theaters, Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel," landed at No. 8 with $3.6 million. When it opened last weekend, the stylish comedy showed on just four screens in New York and Los Angeles. Still, it impressed with $200,000.
Rounding out the top 10 is the Kristen Bell-starring "Veronica Mars," the first high-profile project to gain funding from a Kickstarter campaign. The cult show-turned-feature debuted with $2 million.
Sci-fi action movie "Divergent," based on the Veronica Roth's young adult novel and starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, stands to knock every other film a place or two down when it debuts next weekend.
Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak.
The Top 10
1. "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," $21.2 million
2. "300: Rise of an Empire," $19.1 million
3. "Need for Speed," $17.8 million
4. "Non-Stop," $10.6 million
5. "The Single Moms Club," $8.3 million
6. "The Lego Movie," $7.7 million
7. "Son of God," $5.4 million
8. "The Grand Budapest Hotel," $3.6 million
9. "Frozen," $2.1 million
10. "Veronica Mars," $2 million