LOS ANGELES: "The Boss," a slapstick comedy widely panned by critics, ruled the North American box office for its opening weekend, edging out blockbuster "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," industry estimates showed Sunday.

Starring Melissa McCarthy, "The Boss" tells of a billionaire who emerges penniless from a spell in jail for insider trading and is forced to move in with a former employee.

Despite withering reviews "The Boss" grossed $23.5 million across 3,400 screens for the weekend, according to estimates from industry tracker Exhibitor Relations. "The Boss" edged out the iconic superheroes - Batman played by Ben Affleck and Superman by Henry Cavill - who had ruled the box office for the past two weeks. But "Batman v Superman" still grossed $23.4 million for its third weekend, lifting its total domestic takings to $296.7 million.

Third place went to animated Disney film "Zootopia," about an intrepid rabbit police officer who works with a fox to solve a crime in the animal kingdom. The movie grossed $14.4 million, lifting its total takings to $296 million after six weeks on the screen.–AFP

The comedy sequel "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2," which reunites the main cast from the 2002 hit of the same name, fell one spot to fourth with $6.4 million. And the first-person live-action shooter "Hardcore Henry," hailed by some as a new cinematic genre, took fifth place with $5 million.

The Russian-American production, which has divided critics, shares the aesthetic of hit video games like "Halo" and "Call of Duty," but with real actors filmed on GoPro cameras.

Rounding out the rest of the top 10 were:

- "Miracles from Heaven" ($4.8 million)

- "God's Not Dead 2" ($4 million)

- "The Divergent Series: Allegiant" ($3.6 million)

- "10 Cloverfield Lane" ($3 million)

- "Eye in the Sky" ($2.8 million)