“Abominable,” an animated movie about a girl who befriends a yeti, got a warm welcome at the box office over the weekend.

The film from Universal Pictures generated $20.9 million in North American theaters, researcher Comscore Inc. estimated on Sunday. The movie was expected to bring in $18 million to $21 million.

“Abominable,” a Chinese co-production featuring the voice of Chloe Bennet as a teenage girl named Yi, is the first animated picture of the fall season. Yi finds a yeti on the roof of her home in Shanghai, names him “Everest” and sets off to help him get home to his family.

The movie furthers inroads for Asian characters in big-studio movies, following on the success of Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” last year. A live-action remake of “Mulan” from Walt Disney Co. is due next year.

“Abominable” was written and directed by Jill Culton, the first woman to be the sole writer/director for a major animated release. It was produced by Suzanne Buirgy with Peilin Chou of Pearl Studio.

2019 remains a sluggish year for the box office, compared with a record-setting 2018. For this year to break even with last year, every week from here on out would need to average $35 million more than its 2018 equivalent, IndieWire says.

Todd Phillips’ “Joker” from Warner Bros. could open next week as high as $125 million and shatter the $80 million record held by “It” in 2017 for the biggest-ever October opening. Last year, “Venom” and “A Star Is Born” opened in the first week of October. The $35 million surplus needed to beat those films doesn’t seem likely for “Joker,” IndieWire notes.

Disney’s live-action “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” based on the classic “Sleeping Beauty,” could help revive the box office later this October.

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