“We’re laying the groundwork for a third film now,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” creator/executive producer Jeff Kinney told Comic Riffs several days ago. “Of course, you never know if you’re going to get the green light, but if we do, we’ll be ready to go.”

Kinney seems to have just earned the green light.

Fox 2000’s underdog family comedy “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” made $24.4-million at the domestic box office to win the weekend, easily knocking out the bigger-budget Warner Bros. bully “Sucker Punch,” ($19-million), according to studio estimates Sunday. Final numbers are expected Monday.

The film sequel is based on cartoonist Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book series that, according to the publisher, has sold more than 40-million copies since its 2007 launch. Last year’s first film, simply “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” had a $22-million opening and made $75-million globally on a modest $15-million budget.

“Rodrick Rules,” which reportedly did brisk Saturday business, was made for only $18-million.

Zack Snyder’s underperforming “Sucker Punch,” by contrast, had a budget of $75-million. Snyder — who directed “Watchmen” and the surprise hit “300” — is Warner Bros.’s guy as he gears up as director of its “Superman: Man of Steel.”

Elsewhere, Paramount’s animated hit “Rango,” the chameleon-sheriff spaghetti western featuring the voice of Johnny Depp, crossed the $100-million mark at the box office.

Added Kinney of “Wimpy Kid’s” future: “Everyone involved with these films hopes to be able to tell as many stories as possible.”