NEW YORK — “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” finally unseated Clint Eastwood’s runaway hit “American Sniper” at the weekend box office, while a pair of high-priced fantasies flopped.

Paramount Pictures’ “SpongeBob Movie” earned $56 million in North America, a huge debut for the animated Nickelodeon big-screen transfer, according to estimates Sunday. That finally pushed “American Sniper” off the top spot after a three-week reign. The Navy SEAL drama took in $24.2 million in its fourth week of wide release.

The Wachowskis’ lavish science-fiction adventure “Jupiter Ascending” opened with just $19 million, a meager amount for a $175 million production. Warner Bros. delayed its release from last summer.

Universal’s “Seventh Son,” a supernatural thriller set in medieval times, debuted with a scant $7.1 million. The film, produced by Legendary Pictures and starring Jeff Bridges, cost nearly $100 million to make.

That gave the box office a couple of lucrative hits and a pair of costly misses to lead the early February weekend.

The success of “The SpongeBob Movie,” the second SpongeBob film following 2004’s “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” proved the continuing appeal of the 16-year-old Nickelodeon character. The cartoon about the chipper SpongeBob also capitalized on a market hungry for family films in the midst of winter, well after the swath of holiday releases. On the same weekend last year, Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie” emerged as one of 2014’s biggest hits.