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2013-09-09 07:42
Los Angeles -  Riddick is seeing light at the box office.

The science-fiction thriller starring Vin Diesel as an intergalactic criminal with built-in night vision debuted in first place with $18.7m, according to studio estimates Sunday.

is the third installment in the series, following the $11.6m debut of 2000's Pitch Black and the $24.3m launch of 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick.

, which finds the alien anti-hero stranded and pursued by bounty hunters on a hostile world, served as a passion project for Diesel and series writer-director David Twohy. After the studio originally passed on funding a third chapter, the pair acquired the rights to the character from Universal and independently secured their own film financing.

"I don't think there were any mistakes made here," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal, which returned to the fold to distribute Riddick in North America.

"Vin wanted to do it. He had to do it on his time. He was very, very busy with Fast & Furious, and I think everything came together as he wanted it to come together."

The rest of the top earners:

Lee Daniels' The Butler
fell to second place with $8.9m in its fourth weekend at the box office, bringing its total domestic haul to $91.9m. The Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included earned third place in its expanded second weekend with $8.1m, giving it a total of $20.1m in U.S. and Canadian theaters.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Tuesday.

1. Riddick, $18.7m.

2. Lee Daniels' The Butler, $8.9m.

3. Instructions Not Included, $8.1m.

4. We're the Millers, $7.9m.

5. Planes, $4.3m.

6. One Direction: This Is Us, $4.1m.

7. Elysium, $3.1m.

8. Blue Jasmine, $2.7m.

9. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, $2.5m.

10. The World's End, $2.3m.

Read more on:    vin diesel  |  oprah winfrey  |  celebrities  |  movies
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