LOS ANGELES -- Animated Pixar movie "Inside Out 2" generated an estimated US$155 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend, the year's largest debut, according to estimates released on Sunday.

The Friday through Sunday tally topped the US$82.5 million brought in by previous box office leader "Dune: Part Two" in March.

Walt Disney, which owns animation studio Pixar, said the movie in international markets brought in a global total of US$295 million through Sunday.

The results provided a boost for theater owners, who have fewer movies to show this year because of delays caused by strikes in Hollywood last year.

Total domestic ticket sales through Sunday are running 24 per cent behind the same point in 2023, Comscore said.

The last two Pixar releases, "Elemental" and "Lightyear," had mediocre ticket sales. Three prior Pixar films were sent straight to streaming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Inside Out 2" is a sequel to the 2015 hit about the inner workings of a young girl's mind. In the second instalment, lead character Riley has become a teenager and is grappling with new emotions including anxiety and envy.

The original "Inside Out" opened with about US$90 million in its first weekend in the summer of 2015.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Utkarsh Shetti, Additional reporting by Michael Erman in New Jersey; editing by Diane Craft, David Gregorio and Richard Chang)