In the battle of horror franchises, The Final Destination scared off a challenge from Halloween II to claim top honors at the weekend box office in North America, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.

The Final Destination sold $28.3 million worth of tickets during its first three days, while the latest Halloween outing of masked serial killer Michael Myers opened at No. 3 with $17.4 million.

In between was last weekend's champion, Quentin Tarantino's violent World War Two movie Inglourious Basterds, with $20 million in it second round. With yet another horror film, District 9, claiming the No. 4 spot with $10.7 million in its third weekend, movie theaters were no place for the squeamish or intellectually curious.

The Final Destination revolves around a youngster quickly running out of friends since he can accurately foretell their brutal deaths. It's the fourth installment in a franchise that was launched in 2000, and marks the best opening in the series. In 2003, Final Destination 3 opened to $19 million.

Halloween II is the sequel to a successful 2007 reboot of a venerable series dating to 1978. Both the previous one, which opened to $26 million, and the new one were directed by rocker Rob Zombie.

Because they target roughly the same audience, industry observers had expected the The Final Destination and Halloween II to cannibalize each other and each end up in the teens of millions. But Final Destination enjoyed a boost from higher ticket prices for its 3D runs in just over half of its 3,121 theaters.

The Final Destination was released by Warner Bros Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc. Halloween II and Inglourious Basterds were released by the closely held Weinstein Co. District 9 was released by TriStar Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp.