LOS ANGELES — It took a murderous Idris Elba and a pair of dolphin buddies to defeat "Guardians of the Galaxy" at movie theaters.
The Sony thriller "No Good Deed," which stars Elba as an escaped convict and Taraji P. Henson as the innocent he terrorizes, opened on top of the box office with $24.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. And Sony wasn't surprised.
"It's a movie that we really loved and felt that it was going to win," said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer. "You have to give it to the cast in Idris and Taraji. Their chemistry together is fantastic."
The film nearly doubled its reported budget in its first week of release, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak.
"It's the first brand new, post-summer release to really catch on," he said.
The Warner Bros.' feel-good film "Dolphin Tale 2" debuted in second place with $16.5 million. The family-friendly story stars Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd reprising their roles from the 2011 original.
"Guardians" slipped to third place with $8 million in ticket sales. The Marvel space adventure, which held the No. 1 spot for four weeks, is the top-grossing film of the year domestically, collecting more than $300 million in North America and $600 million worldwide.
Paramount's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" finished fourth with $4.8 million, followed by the Fox comedy "Let's Be Cops," which collected $4.3 million.
Fox Searchlight's crime drama "The Drop," which stars Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini, opened in sixth place with $4.2 million — an impressive showing given it only played in 809 theaters.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "No Good Deed," $24.5 million.
2. "Dolphin Tale 2," $16.5 million ($1.3 million international).
3. "Guardians of the Galaxy," $8 million ($9.3 million international).
4. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," $4.8 million ($10.5 million international).
5. "Let's Be Cops," $4.3 million ($2.5 million international).
6. "The Drop," $4.2 million.
7. "If I Stay," $4 million ($3.2 million international).
8. "The November Man," $2.7 million.
9. "The Giver," $2.6 million ($3 million international).
10. "The Hundred-Foot Journey," $2.4 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Rentrak:
1. "Lucy," $25 million.
2. "Into the Storm," $14.2 million.
3. (tie) "The Expendables 3," $11.5 million.
4. (tie) "Sex Tape," $11.5 million.
5. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," $10.5 million.
6. "Divergent," $10 million.
7. "Hercules," $9.6 million.
8. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," $9.5 million.
9. "Guardians of the Galaxy," $9.3 million.
10. "Rurouni Kenshin," $8.5 million.
11. "The Maze Runner," $8.3 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .