(AP Photo/Twentieth Century Fox, Ben Rothstein).
LOS ANGELES -- "The Wolverine" slashed monsters and minions to debut atop the weekend box office. The Fox film featuring Hugh Jackman's sixth turn as the claw-wielding superhero opened with $55 million in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Last weekend's top movie, Warner Bros.' low-budget horror "The Conjuring," slipped to second place, adding another $22.1 million to its take, while "Despicable Me 2" was in third with $16 million.
The Universal animated sequel, with its cast of cute, yellow minions, has made more than $600 million worldwide since it came out four weeks ago.
"The Wolverine," which is set in Japan and features an international cast, earned another $86.1 million overseas. The film's opening-week take surpassed the $120 million it cost to make, said Chris Aronson, Fox's head of domestic distribution.
"It's a huge opening for the clawed one," he said. "It played equally well from Maine to Maui." Another Fox film, the animated snail-racing tale "Turbo," was in fourth place with $13.3 million. Adam Sandler's "Grown Ups 2" followed with $11.5 million.
Woody Allen's latest, "Blue Jasmine," enjoyed a stellar opening of its own, though on a much smaller scale. Starring Cate Blanchett, the film opened in just six theaters but still collected $612,767.
"It's one of the biggest opening per-theater averages ever for a non-animated film," said Paul Dergarabedian of box-office tracker Hollywood.com. Ticket sales this weekend were up almost 30 percent over the same weekend last summer, he said.