Fending off sequelitis, the testosterone-laced Angel Has Fallen opened to a better-than-expected $21.3 million at the North American box office to easily win the penultimate weekend of summer. Heading into the weekend, it was eyeing a launch in the mid-teen millions.

Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are joined by Nick Nolte in the third installment of Millennium's action franchise, which is being distributed by Lionsgate home of the summer action hit John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum (the independent studio is also distributing CBS Flims' summer success, Story Stories to Tell in the Dark).

Angel Has Fallen — fueled by older audiences and an A- CinemaScore — all but matched the $21.6 million debut of London Has Fallen in 2016, not adjusted for inflation. The first film in the action series, Olympus Has Fallen, launched with $30.4 million in 2013.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Lance Reddick co-star in the threequel, which sees Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Butler) wrongfully accused of trying to kill the president (Freeman). Nearly half of ticket buyers were 35 and older, while the audience was almost evenly split in terms of gender.

“The idea was to make a big fun summer action movie with real heart and emotion, centered around a hero that isn’t impervious to danger or flaws, but human and relatable to us all. Especially to our military, law enforcement and first responder community. Mike Banning represents them. So to connect with audiences like this, let alone win the weekend is a dream come true," says Angel Has Fallen director Ric Roman Waugh said in a statement.

Universal's breakout comedy hit Good Boys fell to No. 2 in its sophomore outing with an estimated $11.8 million for a domestic tally of $42.6 million and $49 million worldwide.

The new faith-based offering Overcomer, from Sony's Affirm Films, also beat expectations with a $8.2 million bow. Directed by the Kendrick Brothers (Facing the Giants, Fireproof), the high-school basketball drama was graced with a rare A+ CinemaScore from moviegoers. The largest segment of the audience (28 percent) was 55 and older.

Both Overcomer and Angel Has Fallen performed best in America's heartland and the South.

Disney's The Lion King followed with $8.15 million in its seventh weekend for a domestic tally of $510.6 million (depending upon how Sunday plays out, it could switch places with Overcomer). Globally, the Jon Favreau-directed tentpole cleared $1.5 billion, becoming only the ninth film in history to do so. It will cross the $1 billion mark internationally on Monday.

Universal's Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, which rounded out the top five in North America with $8.1 million, had plenty to celebrate as it approached the $600 million mark globally after launching to a huge $102 million in China. That's the second-biggest Hollywood opening of the year for a foreign film behind Avengers: Endgame and the biggest August debut of all time (the action franchise has always been incredibly popular in the Middle Kingdom).

Hobbs & Shaw, which teams Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, has earned $441.2 million offshore and $147.7 million domestically for a $588.9 million cume to date.

Fox Searchlight's Ready or Not came in No. 6 with a subdued weekend tally of $7.6 million after launching midweek. The R-rated film — about a bride whose wedding night turns deadly when her wealthy in-laws force her into a violent game of hide and seek — posted a five-day bow of $10.6 million, behind expectations and despite getting the widest release in Searchlight's history (2,818 theaters). Nearly 80 percent of the audience was 35 and under. 

Elsewhere, Sony’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood surpassed Inglourious Basterds to become Quentin Tarantino’s second-biggest film domestically. The original tentpole came in No. 10 in North America with $5 million for a domestic cume of $123.2 million. Overseas, it took in another $28 million from 55 markets for a foreign total of $116.6 million and $239.8 million worldwide to date.

Highlights at the specialty box office included Paul Downs Colaizzo's comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon, from Amazon Studios. The film, starring Jillian Bell as a young woman who's determined to turn her life around by losing weight and training for a marathon, scored the top location average of the weekend with $35,194 in a needed boost for Amazon.

Roadside Attractions' critically acclaimed The Peanut Butter Falcon expanded nationwide in its third weekend, grossing a solid $3 million for a total of $3.7 million. Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson star with newcomer Zack Gottsagen in a modern-day riff on Huckleberry Finn.

Aug. 25, 7:30 a.m. Updated with weekend estimates.
Aug. 25, 9:22 a.m. Updated with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood numbers.