NEW YORK — Sony Pictures’ female-led “Ghostbusters” reboot arrived in theaters as neither a massive success nor the bomb some predicted, as the much-scrutinized film opened with an estimated $46 million in North American theaters, second to the holdover hit “The Secret Life of Pets.”

“The Secret Life of Pets” stayed on top with $50.6 million in its second week, according to studio estimates Sunday.

But all eyes were on Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters,” which resurrects the 1984 original with a cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Sony, noting it was the best opening for a live-action comedy in more than a year, called the result “a triumph.” Audiences, which broke down 46 percent male and 54 percent female, gave it a solid B-plus CinemaScore.

“There was a lot of scrutiny on the film going up to release, but the movie in the opening delivered,” said Josh Greenstein, president of marketing and distribution for Sony. “We’ve successfully restarted a very important brand and we’re just ecstatic at the results.”

Yet given its hefty price – the film cost $144 million to make, after rebates, plus more than $100 million to market – it’s a relatively tepid start for “Ghostbusters” that will put pressure on the film to perform well overseas. And that could be a challenge in some territories that don’t have the same familiarity with the original “Ghostbusters” films.

A release in China, the world’s second-largest film market, is in question. China has regulations against depictions of the supernatural in movies. Greenstein said Sony will submit the film for release “and we’ll see if we get accepted or not.”


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