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.


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"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)