EuropaCorp’s thriller starring Scarlett Johansson delivered a strong debut through Universal as box office for the top 12 matched the comparable session of 2013.

This will have been a satisfying result for the companies, given the $40m price tag.

Johansson’s latest otherworldly role in Lucy sees her play a drug mule whose brain expands to maximum capacity when a package containing a synthetic illegal substance opens inside her stomach.

Paramount-MGM’s Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson arrived at number two on an estimated $29m. The film cost around $100m to make and will need to hold well in North America and build on its impressive $28.7m international start to break even.

Fox’s international champ Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes will overtake the $176.8m final gross of its 2011 predecessor Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes any day now. The sequel ranked third in its third weekend and climbed to $172.1m.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction reached a relatively lowly $236.4m in its fifth weekend through Paramount (international has been the saviour on $730m and counting), while Universal’s The Purge: Anarchy continues it march into profitability, adding $9.9m for $51.3m after sessions.

Clarius Entertainment broke Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton into the top ten. The comedy-drama arrived at number eight on $4.55m from 1,762 theatres. Foresight Unlimited handles international sales.

Opening at number 10 on $2.7m from 361 through Roadside Attractions was the John Le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

IFC’s Boyhood climbed one place to number 14 in its weekend, adding $1.7m from for $4.1m. The coming-of-age drama expanded by 73 theatres to 107 and averaged $16,121.

Open Road debuted The Fluffy Movie on $1.3m from 432 and SPC launched Woody Allen’s Magic In The Moonlight on $426,000 from 17 for a $25,059 average that ranked as the best of the top 50.

Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana is expected to storm the charts Next weekend through Buena Vista. Universal launches the James Brown biopic Get On Up starring Chadwick Boseman.

Estimated Top 10 North America July 25-27 2014
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Lucy (Universal) UPI $44m –

2 (-) Hercules (Paramount-MGM) PPI $29m –

3 (1) Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Fox International $16.4m $172.1m

4 (2) The Purge: Anarchy (Universal) UPI $9.9m $51.3m

5 (3) Planes: Fire & Rescue (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $9.3m $35.1m

6 (4) Sex Tape (Sony) SPRI $5.9m $26.9m

7 (5) Transformers: Age Of Extinction (Paramount) PPI $4.6m $236.4m

8 (-) And So It Goes (Clarius Entertainment) Foresight Unlimited $4.55m –

9 (6) Tammy (Warner Bros) WBPI $3.4m $78.1m

10 (-) A Most Wanted Man (Roadside Attractions) FilmNation $2.7m –