'The Meg' chomps up competition at N.America box office

Jason Statham (R) stars in 'The Meg' as a rescue diver who tries to save scientists in a nuclear submarine from a huge, underwater shark attack

The North American box office was under attack from sci-fi horror film 'The Meg' this weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday, as it more than doubled the earnings of its closest competitor to claim the top spot.

The Warner Bros. adaptation of Steve Alten's "Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror" (1997) took $44.5 million in its first weekend in theaters, as viewers rushed to see Jason Statham as a rescue diver who tries to save scientists in a nuclear submarine from a huge, underwater shark attack.

Second place went to Tom Cruise's "Mission: Impossible -- Fallout," from Paramount, with $20 million earnings ending a two-week run at the top, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

"Fallout," the sixth stunt-filled edition in the popular "M:I" franchise, sees Cruise again do his own vertigo-inducing, cliff-hanging, exploding-car stunts -- and has raked in $162 million during three weeks in cinemas.

In at third was Disney's live-animated hybrid "Christopher Robin" -- which tells the story of Winnie the Pooh's now grown-up and stressed-out friend and how he reunites with his old stuffed friend -- with ticket sales of $12.4 million.

Meanwhile, despite a poor reception from critics, Sony's newly released "Slender Man" took fourth place with $11.4 million.

The supernatural horror story follows a group of friends who, enthralled by online stories about the mysterious Slender Man, try to prove he doesn't really exist -- only for one of them to go missing.

Fifth went to Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman," which took $10.8 million.

Starring John David Washington -- son of Denzel Washington -- it tells the true story of black detective Ron Stallworth, who in 1970s Colorado set out to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan chapter.

Rounding out this weekend's top 10 were:

"The Spy Who Dumped Me" ($6.6 million)

"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" ($5.8 million)

"The Equalizer 2" ($5.5 million)

"Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" ($5.1 million)

"Ant-Man and the Wasp" ($4 million)

Jason Statham (R) stars in 'The Meg' as a rescue diver who tries to save scientists in a nuclear submarine from a huge, underwater shark attack