LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Thriller "No Good Deed," the story of an escaped convict who terrorizes a woman and her children inside their home, seized the top spot on U.S. and Canadian box office charts over the weekend, beating family friendly sequel "Dolphin Tale 2."
"No Good Deed" collected $24.5 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates from tracking firm Rentrak. "Dolphin Tale 2," the sequel to a 2011 hit about a plucky marine mammal, finished second with $16.6 million.
Last weekend's winner, Marvel's hit space adventure "Guardians of the Galaxy," came in third with $8 million. "Guardians" became the first film of 2014 to bring in more than $300 million at North American theaters, distributor Walt Disney Co said. The movie's global sales reached $612 million.
"No Good Deed" stars Idris Elba as an escaped prisoner who shows up claiming car trouble at the suburban Atlanta home of a mother played by Taraji P. Henson. After she offers to let him use her phone, the man invades her home and forces her to fight for the family's survival.
The movie, released by Sony, beat forecasts from Box Office Mojo for a debut of $19 million. The film played in about 2,175 theaters and cost $13.2 million to make.
Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Sony, chalked up the film's success to cast chemistry and successful behind-the-scenes efforts.
"It really was a team effort, the production, the marketing, the distribution," Bruer said. "We believed in the film, and knew audiences liked it."
The debut of "Dolphin Tale 2" felt short of the first movie, which opened with $19.1 million in 2011 and went on to earn $95.4 million around the world.
The original "Dolphin Tale" told the real-life story of a dolphin named Winter that lost its tail in a crab trap and was rehabilitated with a prosthetic tail. In the sequel, the team that saved Winter seeks a new dolphin companion for it after its surrogate mother dies. Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd star in the film.
The sequel cost $36 million to make, according to Box Office Mojo, and was produced by Alcon Entertainment.
In fourth place was Paramount's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," based on the series that began with 1980s comic books. Starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett and Whoopi Goldberg, the film was produced by the special-effects-loving Michael Bay.
Comedy "Let's Be Cops," starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr., collected $4.3 million, taking fifth place.
"The Drop," a crime drama starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini, earned $4.2 million from its debut in 809 theaters.
"The Drop" and "Let's Be Cops" were released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Andrea Burzynski; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Mohammad Zargham)