The Possession tops in North America
Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars as Clyde in film, The Possession. Picture: AP Photo/Lionsgate, Diyah Pera.

Horror flick The Possession exorcised A-list action romp The Expendables 2 from the top slot at the North American box office at the weekend, according to industry estimates released on Sunday.

The newly-released supernatural thriller, which stars Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as divorcing parents trying to rid their daughter of an evil spirit, raked in $US17.7 million ($A17.27 million), said movie tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Another new release, Depression-era Western Lawless, took second place in the rankings but it lagged in takings - generating $US9.7 million on a slow, late summer weekend which will be followed by the Labor Day holiday in the US on Monday.

The Expendables 2 and The Bourne Legacy fell to third and fourth places, with $US8.8 million and $US7.2 million in ticket sales, respectively.

Paranorman, an animated movie about a boy who can speak to the dead, held onto its spot just behind the two action blockbusters, earning $US6.5 million in box office receipts.

And quirky fantasy-comedy The Odd Life of Timothy Green held steady at sixth place, bringing in $US6.1 million.

In seventh was The Dark Knight Rises, the latest Batman film, which took in $US5.9 million. The final instalment in the trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan has so far raked in more than $US431 million.

Political spoof The Campaign, meanwhile, starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, dropped to eighth place, with box office receipts of $US5.4 million, while 2016: Obama's America, a documentary by conservative writer and commentator Dinesh D'Souza, came in ninth, with $US5.1 million.

And rounding out the top 10 was Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones's romantic comedy Hope Springs, with $US4.7 million in ticket sales.

The West Australian

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