The all-star caper film Ocean's Thirteen made off with $37.1 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend to steal the No. 1 spot at the North American box office, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
The Friday-through-Sunday tally for the latest Ocean's sequel, returning George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Bernie Mac to the scene of their first heist, Las Vegas, was roughly on par with the debut gross of the first two films in the series.
Ocean's Thirteen released by the Warner Bros. Pictures, is the third film to team Clooney and company with director Steven Soderbergh for a franchise inspired by the 1960 "rat pack" adventure starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
And it is the latest in a flurry of big-studio sequels to arrive in theaters since the unofficial start of the summer movie season last month, following Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third and this week's No. 2 film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
"For a third installment, and there's been a lot of them this year, that tells you it's still a solid franchise," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracking firm Media By Numbers, said of Ocean's performance.
By comparison, Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve grossed $38.1 million and $39.2 million during their respective first weekends in December 2001 and 2004, and they went on to amass more than $795 million worldwide together.
The top 12 films at the North American multiplex this weekend collectively grossed $133.6 million, down more than 9 percent from the same weekend last year when Disney's computer-animated racing film Cars opened with $60 million.
But overall domestic box office is up more than 10 percent year-to-year since May, a sign that the summer sequel formula is working for Hollywood.