Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar Animation came back swinging this weekend with Incredibles 2, leading the box office in a record-breaking debut for an animated film.

The sequel collected US$180 million (NZ$259m) in theatres in the US and Canada, industry researcher ComScore Inc. said in an email yesterday. Among other new releases, the buddy comedy Tag came in third place with US$14.6 million and the remake of Superfly was seventh with US$6.3 million.

Incredibles 2 surpassed the $135 million animated-film record set by Pixar's own Finding Dory in 2016. It met industry estimates that swelled as stellar reviews — 94 percent positive according to Rottentomatoes.com — flowed in, drawing excited fans over the Father's Day weekend.

See the Finding Dory trailer below. Until last weekend, it held the record for a box office opening of an animated film:

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Watch the trailer for the 2016 Pixar film Finding Dory.

The film's success will be a boost to executives and animators at Disney who learned this month that John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of their animation businesses, was leaving the company for good in December. Lasseter, the creative force behind hits like Finding Nemo and Frozen, had been on leave following complaints from colleagues of inappropriate touching and comments. Lasseter was an executive producer on Incredibles 2.

Incredibles 2 has a chance to become Disney's fourth film in seven months to surpass $600 million at the domestic box office, Gitesh Pandya, founder of BoxOfficeGuru.com, said on Twitter on Saturday. The company's other recent release, Solo: A Star Wars Story, has been a relative disappointment, collecting US$9.08 million in its fourth weekend to boost its cumulative gross to US$193 million, according to ComScore.

With Incredibles 2, Disney is bringing back the tale of the reluctant superhero family at a time when such characters are popular with movie fans. Disney didn't disclose the cost of making the picture, but similar films have cost about US$200 million to produce before marketing costs, according to research firm Box Office Mojo.

The original Incredibles took in US$70.5 million in its 2004 opening weekend. It had a budget of US$92 million, before marketing spending, according to Box Office Mojo.

Holly Hunter returns as the voice of Helen, the mother of the family, which has secret superhero powers. She is called on to lead a campaign to bring the Supers back, while her husband Bob, Mr Incredible, has to navigate the day-to-day challenges of normal life looking after their two children. A new villain emerges and hatches a plot the Incredibles have to overcome.

The two other new releases competed for attention. In Warner Bros.' Tag, Ed Helms and Jeremy Renner star in the comedy about old school friends who take their annual game of tag to new extremes. It was expected to collect US$15.3 million and cost US$28 million to produce, before marketing costs, according to Box Office Mojo. Critics were split, with 56 percent giving positive reviews, according to aggregator Rottentomatoes.com.

Box Office Pro had estimated Sony Corp.'s Columbia Pictures remake of Superfly would take in US$7 million. Trevor Jackson plays the lead character, Youngblood Priest, in what some critics called a stylish redo of the Blaxploitation original. About half gave positive reviews, according to Rottentomatoes.com.