'Guardians' enjoys galactic box office earnings for 2nd week in row

Poster o the film 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'

Marvel's ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ trounced the competition for the second straight weekend in North American theaters, earning $60.5 million for a global haul topping half a billion dollars, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

The latest tale of oddball intergalactic mercenaries, human and otherwise, again stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel -- this time on a mission to save comrade Rocket Raccoon from a scientist intent on removing his brain.

‘Guardians’ had unseated Universal's ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ from the top spot the week before. But the video game-based ‘Mario’, which has now earned more than $1.2 billion worldwide, remained firmly in second spot in its sixth week out, taking in $13 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period.

‘Book Club: The Next Chapter’, a Focus Features sequel to a well-received romantic comedy for the older set, came third in its debut weekend with $6.5 million -- described as a "slow start" by analyst David A Gross, who also acknowledged that "older audiences take their time getting to these movies."

The film, which follows four friends on a grown-up girls trip to Italy, features an all-star quartet of Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen -- all of whom are in their 70s or 80s.

Warner Bros.' blood-soaked horror film ‘Evil Dead Rise’ dropped one spot to fourth, taking in $3.7 million. It features two sisters (Lily Sullivan and Alyssa Sutherland) battling the demonic Deadites crew.

In fifth place, also down one spot, was the Lionsgate comedy-drama ‘Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret’, at $2.5 million.

Abby Ryder Fortson plays sixth-grader Margaret Simon as she navigates the challenges of that awkward age.

Rounding out the top 10 were: ‘Hypnotic’ (2.4 million), ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ ($1.9 million), ‘Love Again’ ($1.6 million), ‘Air’ ($750,000), ‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ ($740,000).