From left, Johann Urb, Kevin Durand, Sienna Guillory, Li Bingbing, Aryana Engineer, Milla Jovovich, Paul W.S. Anderson, Boris Kodjoe and Oder Fehr attend the US premiere of “Resident Evil: Retribution” at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. -AP Photo

LOS ANGELES: Science fiction thriller “Resident Evil: Retribution” topped the North American box office at the weekend, holding off the 3D version of “Finding Nemo,” estimates showed Sunday.

Both films were making their debut but the former, starring Milla Jovovich, took $20.6 million in receipts, ahead of “Finding Nemo,” which earned $17.5 million, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Last week's number one, “The Possession,” a supernatural thriller starring Kyra Sedgwick, was knocked into third but it was a long way back on the leaders with just $5.8 million in takings this weekend.

Depression-era gangster tale “Lawless” fell from second place last week to fourth after earning $4.2 million, with “ParaNorman,” an animated movie about a boy who can speak to the dead, ($3.04 million) holding on to fifth spot.

Action romp “The Expendables 2,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, continued its drop, finishing sixth this weekend on $3.03 million.

“The Words,” a literary drama about an author who earns fame by stealing another writer's work, was in seventh place, with $2.88 million in sales, just ahead of “The Bourne Legacy” which earned $2.875 million.

In ninth place, quirky fantasy-comedy “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”brought in $2.5 million.

Rounding out the top 10 was political spoof “The Campaign,” starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, which took in $2.4 million.

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