Steven Soderbergh's all-star plague thriller Contagion topped the U.S. box office on its opening weekend, clearing $23.1 million.

Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law and Matt Damon, Contagion is riding a combination of a wonderful director, a compelling storyline and a great marketing campaign and release date, says Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. Pictures executive VP for domestic distribution.

The movie deals with a cross-over of two viruses that cause global epidemic. Contagion travels across the globe depicting how the deadly virus spreads in all corners of the world and kills its victims in a matter of few days as scientists struggle to find a treatment.

The Help, which ruled the box office for 25 days, fell to second place, earning a total of $137.1 million from the domestic market. Another new release, Warrior, takes the third position in the U.S. box office.

Produced by Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi and distributed by Warner, Contagion is in cinemas now.