Ghosts beat minions as 'Conjuring' horror flick leads box office

Producer Peter Safran, actress Joey King and producer Rob Cowan arrive at the premiere of Warner Bros. 'The Conjuring' in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The low-budget horror flick "The Conjuring" outran the "Despicable Me" minions and a racing snail named "Turbo" to win the weekend box office contest at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

"The Conjuring" generated $41.5 million in ticket sales in its first three days, the highest take among four new films that crowded theaters during the weekend. "Conjuring" features Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as a couple who investigate paranormal activity at a Rhode Island farmhouse.

Two-time champion "Despicable Me 2," an animated film featuring the voice of Steve Carell, dropped to second place with $25.1 million, adding to its blockbuster sales this summer.

"Turbo," an animated film about a super-speedy snail with dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500, took the No. 3 slot with sales of $21.5 million. Ryan Reynolds voices the title character in the film, which was produced by "Shrek" creator DreamWorks Animation.

"The Conjuring" was released by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp, released "Despicable Me 2" while "Turbo" was distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud; Editing by Bill Trott)