* Alien flick "Battle" rakes in $36 million to hit No. 1
* "Rango" wrangles No. 2 spot with $23 million
* "Riding Hood" sees red; "Mars Needs Moms" bombs (Rewrites throughout with top five films)
LOS ANGELES, March 13 (Reuters) - Alien invasion film "Battle: Los Angeles" waged a successful campaign for North American movie supremacy over the weekend, collecting $36 million in a march to the No. 1 spot on box office charts.
The movie, which tells of a group of U.S. Marines defending the city from otherworldly beings, trounced two other new films in theaters, thriller "Red Riding Hood" and animated "Mars Needs Moms," which looks to be a costly flop for the Disney studios, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
"Battle: Los Angeles" also opened in 33 overseas markets, where it took in $16.7 million to boost its worldwide haul to nearly $53 million over its debut weekend in theaters.
"It hit the high end of our expectations," said Rory Bruer, distribution chief for the film units of Sony Pictures, which released the movie. He called the opening a "great result."
The same could not be said for "Red Riding Hood," a modern version of the classic fable about a girl, her grandmother and a bloodthirsty wolf. The Warner Bros. release collected $14.1 million, which was below pre-weekend forecasts of a debut in the neighborhood of $20 million, and landed in the No. 3 spot.
Last week's top movie, cartoon comedy "Rango," wrangled the No. 2 position on ticket charts with $23 million in sales for its distributor, Paramount Pictures, pushing its total receipts in two weeks at U.S. and Canadian theaters to $67 million.
Disney's expensive family film "Mars Needs Moms" mustered only $6.8 million after costing the studio a reported $150 million to produce and millions more to market.
"Mars" touched down at the No. 5 spot, well behind Universal Pictures' thriller "The Adjustment Bureau," which claimed the No. 4 position with $11.5 million in its second weekend.
Sony Pictures is a division of electronics giant Sony Corp. 6578.T. Warner Bros. is part of Time Warner Inc (TWX.N), and Paramount Pictures is a unit of Viacom Inc VIAb.N. Universal Pictures is part of the NBC Universal media group controlled by Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), and Disney's film studios are owned by The Walt Disney Co (DIS.N). (Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Eric Beech)