By Lisa Richwine and Andrea Burzynski
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Baseball drama "42," the story of Jackie Robinson becoming the first black player in the major leagues more than 60 years ago, took home a win at the movie box office after scoring $27.3 million from weekend ticket sales in the United States and Canada.
The film about the Hall of Fame player topped industry forecasts for an opening of about $20 million. It defeated new horror spoof "Scary Movie 5," the second-place finisher with $15.2 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.
Animated Stone Age adventure film "The Croods" took the No. 3 slot. The Dreamworks Animation production rung up sales of $13.2 million in its fourth week for a total of $142.5 million in the U.S. and Canada.
In international markets, Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller "Oblivion" debuted with $61.1 million in 52 countries, distributor Universal Studios said. The film opens in the United States and Canada on Friday.
"42" stars TV actor Chadwick Boseman, seen on shows such as "Fringe" and "Justified," as the legendary Robinson. The title refers to Robinson's jersey number with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Harrison Ford plays Branch Rickey, the Dodgers general manager who paved the way for Robinson to enter Major League Baseball as its first black player in 1947.
Audiences thought the movie was a home run, awarding a rare A+ rating in polling by survey firm CinemaScore. Critics also gave "42" high marks, with 75 percent recommending the movie among reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
"It was big in small towns, large towns, urban markets and suburban markets," said Dan Fellman, president of theatrical distribution for Warner Bros., the Time Warner Inc unit that distributed the film. Legendary Pictures produced the film for $40 million.
Box office analyst for Hollywood.com Paul Dergarabedian noted that the film's 25 percent uptick on Saturday indicated strong word of mouth.
"Scary Movie 5" revived a franchise that was dormant for seven years after the first four films grossed a combined $818 million worldwide.
The new installment, produced for less than $20 million, stars Ashley Tisdale and features cameos by troubled actress Lindsay Lohan and Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen. The film pokes fun at pop culture phenomena like racy novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" and recent Jessica Chastain horror flick "Mama."
Ahead of the weekend, box office pundits predicted an opening of up to $17 million for "Scary Movie 5."
"We would have liked to have seen a bit higher of a number," said Erik Lomis, distribution president for The Weinstein Co, the privately held company that released the movie.
The fifth "Scary Movie" installment opened lower than any of the previous ones.
In fourth place was action movie sequel "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," which earned $10.8 million during its third week in theaters.
Last week's box office winner "Evil Dead" fell to fifth place this week, taking in $9.5. The horror film is a remake of a 1981 classic of the genre.
"The Croods" was produced by Dreamworks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp. Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures released "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." "Evil Dead" was distributed by Sony Corp's movie studio. Comcast Corp's Universal Studios released "Oblivion." Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures released "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." "Evil Dead" was distributed by Sony Corp's movie studio. Comcast Corp's Universal Studios released "Oblivion."
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Andrea Burzynski; Editing by Bill Trott)