Comedy space romp "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" had a massive opening weekend, grossing $146.5 million in the United States and Canada to follow last week's equally impressive foreign debut.
Its North American take marks a 54 percent rise on the first film's opening weekend in August 2014, when it took the industry by surprise with a $94.3 million bow.
The Marvel tale of a band of misfit space adventurers accounted for nearly 80 percent of the money hauled in by the 12 top-selling movies over the three-day weekend, industry monitor Exhibitor Relations said.
Analysts said the huge debut, the sixth best for any movie opening in May, appears to signal the arrival of the busy summer movie season.
Guardians debuted in foreign markets last week, taking $106 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.
The breathtaking showing by "Guardians" ended the reign of "The Fate of the Furious," this week's box office runner-up.
The eighth part of the long-running Universal franchise managed $8.6 million in the fourth week of a lucrative run that saw it surpass the $1 billion mark worldwide.
Third place went to "The Boss Baby," an animated tale of rivalry between infants and puppies featuring Alec Baldwin, which took $6 million.
In fourth was Pantelion's "How to be a Latin Lover," a comedy starring Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell and Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez, with $5.14 million in ticket sales.
The Disney blockbuster "Beauty and the Beast," starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, hauled in another $5.09 million, taking it to nearly half a billion dollars in domestic ticket sales during its two-month run.
There were nine new releases over the weekend but the best performing of these, Oscar-nominee Oren Moverman's "The Dinner," was nowhere the top ten.
Despite an all-star cast featuring Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall and Chloe Sevigny, it took just over $650,000 from around 500 locations.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
"The Circle" ($4 million)
"Baahubali 2: The Conclusion" ($3.4 million)
"Gifted" ($2 million)
"Smurfs: The Lost Village" ($1.838 million)
"Going in Style" ($1.835 million)