Blockbuster toy tie-in The Lego Movie left The Monuments Men for dust at the weekend, earning more than three times as much as George Clooney's WWII caper at the North American box office.
The 3D animation, set in a world made up of plastic children's blocks, took $69.1 million (£42m) between Friday and Sunday, according to studio estimates.
Clooney's film about Nazi-looted art took $22.7m (£14m).
The critics have not generally been kind to his fact-based tale.
A spokesman for the Sony studio was upbeat about its performance, saying it was "right where we hoped to be".
Clooney, who both directs and stars in The Monuments Men, is travelling to the UK this week to promote his film ahead of its UK release on Friday.
The Lego Movie, also out on Friday in the UK and Ireland, enjoyed the biggest opening of 2014 so far. A sequel is already in development.
Will Ferrell and Liam Neeson are among the voice cast in Warner Brothers' collaboration with the popular Danish top brand.
The new arrivals at the top of this week's chart saw last week's number one film, cop comedy Ride Along, fall down to three.
Disney animation Frozen also fell two places to four, while raunchy rom-com That Awkward Moment dropped down to five.
Teen film Vampire Academy opened poorly in seventh place with a first weekend tally of $4.1m (£2.5m).
Based on Richelle Mead's young adult novels, the Weinstein Company release is set in a boarding school for bloodsuckers.