"Pacific Rim," has dethroned Black Panther from the top spot of the US box office, but the superhero sensation spent the weekend becoming the highest-grossing comic book film ever in the US.

Cast member Scott Eastwood poses at the premiere for
Cast member Scott Eastwood poses at the premiere for "Pacific Rim: Uprising" in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 21, 2018 (Reuters)

Smash 'em up blockbuster Pacific Rim: Uprising punched its way to first place at the North American box office this weekend, with takings of $28.1 million, industry figures showed on Monday.

The action-packed sequel knocked Black Panther from number one after five straight weeks, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations, but the film attracted mixed reviews and fell short of Pacific Rim's $37.3 million debut in 2013.

Set 10 years after Pacific Rim, Uprising follows a new generation of pilots of the first film's giant Jaeger military "mechanoids"  fending off enormous Kaiju monsters aiming to end humanity.

The Universal movie centres on Star Wars sensation John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba's character Stacker, who died to save the world in the first film.

London-born Boyega also took a producing role alongside Guillermo del Toro, the first film's director.

While the Pacific Rim sequel rose to prominence, it was time for Wakanda's King TChalla to surrender his box office crown. Black Panther dropped into second place with earnings of $17.1 million.

The Marvel smash hit, starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyongo, has earned $631 million in the US and Canada overtaking The Avengers (2012) as the highest-grossing superhero film in US history.

Thanks to an impressive box office reign in which it has continued to crush milestones, it is the first film since Avatar (2009) to chalk up five consecutive top spots, and the fifth highest-grossing movie ever in the US.

In at third for a second week was low-budget, faith-based drama I Can Only Imagine, which amassed $13.6 million.

Made for a modest $7 million, the movie stars J Michael Finley as the lead singer of a popular Christian band. Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman also star.

In at fourth place with $10.6 million was Paramount's newly-released Sherlock Gnomes, a sequel to 2011's Gnomeo and Juliet.

The Paramount animation features James McAvoy and Emily Blunt, who call upon Sherlock (Johnny Depp) to get to the bottom of a string of garden gnome disappearances.

Falling from second last week to fifth this time around was Tomb Raider, a Warner Bros adventure reboot starring Swedish actress Alicia Vikander as the fearless and ferocious Lara Croft.

The movie, also starring Dominic West and Kristin Scott Thomas, netted $10.1 million for total earnings of $41.4 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

A Wrinkle In Time ($8.2 million)

Love, Simon ($7.6 million)

Paul, Apostle of Christ ($5.2 million)

Game Night ($4.13 million)

Midnight Sun ($4.12 million)

Source: AFP