Activists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called for a boycott of the film after backstage footage of a trainer forcing a terrified German Shepherd into rushing water during the filming of a action sequence hit the Internet earlier this month (Jan17).

Quaid and the film's producer Gavin Polone have dismissed PETA's outrage as sensationalism, while defending the movie and insisting the video footage was not an accurate depiction of how trainers handled dogs on set.

But the drama was enough to keep film fans away from the movie and it failed to topple M. Night Shyamalan's thriller Split as America's number one film over the weekend.

Split stayed on top for a second week with a $26 million (GBP20.7 million) weekend haul - almost $8 million (GBP6.4 million) more than A Dog's Purpose, which was expected to bound to number one.

PETA staged 30 protests outside cinemas across America on Friday night (27Jan17) to protest the movie.

Meanwhile, Hidden Figures is third on the new box office list with a $14 million (GBP11 million) take, and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter debuts at four.

La La Land, which picked up another major awards season win at the Producers Guild of American Awards on Saturday (28Jan17), rounds out the new top five.

It has been a terrible weekend for Matthew MCConaughey - his new film Gold, about a real-life treasure hunt, is a flop. The movie, which also features Bryce Dallas, marks the worst major release of the actor's career as a leading man.

The Stephen Gaghan movie has squeaked into the top 10 at 10 with just $3.4 million (GBP2.7 million).