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Weekend Box Office: Kingsman Tops It as Ninjago Falls Short, Friend Request Ignored

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By Chris Kavan - 09/24/17 at 06:04 PM CT

Even if some of the new films performed below expectations, the strong debut of Kingsman: The Golden Circle and continued excellent run for It helped September near a record high that it should reach before the month is out. While Kingsman was a win, it was a bit of letdown for both The LEGO Ninjago Movie - which opened to the lowest gross in the LEGO series by a wide margin, and the negligible contribution of Friend Request, which couldn't even crack the top five amidst a crowded horror market. Still, September is once again turning out to be welcome return for Hollywood after an August to forget.

1) KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

The first Kingsman was an interesting addiction to the action genre - not afraid of violence, of pushing buttons, but also not afraid to mix in a fair bit of humor. That film opened with $36.2 million back in 2014 and The Golden Circle managed to top that with a $39 million debut. While that total is a bit under some expectations and the reviews were harsher for the sequel, it should have no problem making it to $100 million, topping its $104 million budget in the process. While it's not likely to have as good of legs as the original film, it has already made over $100 million globally, meaning the next few weeks are going to be speculating on how high it will climb, and a caution a guess that a third Kingsman is probably still on the table. The film earned a "B+" Cinemascore (that same as the first film) and played to an audience that was 58% male and 65% over 25. It earned $61.2 million across 55 territories overseas, a hefty 63% increase over the first film, including $11.1 million in the UK, nearly doubling the $6.4 million opening of the original Kingsman.

2) IT

Though it wasn't able to float to the top for a third straight weekend, It managed to still bring in $30 million, for a new total of $266.33 million. That means It is now the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time (non-adjusted), topping The Exorcist ($232.9 million). What is more, with $38.3 million overseas, it also became the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time worldwide with $478 million (also topping The Exorcist as $441 million). The film only took a 50% hit over last weekend - still performing very strong with audiences and it will only be a matter of time before it surpasses Gravity ($274 million) to become the biggest September-October release. All signs point to this one earning north of $300 million, and it has a good shot of passing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 ($337 million), to become the third highest grossing film between August-November. It is a monster all right - and still shows little signs of slowing down.

3) THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE

While both The LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman Movie were both big hits for WB and the LEGO series, Ninjago is struggling to follow suit. The film opened to $21.24 million, well below the $69 million of The LEGO Movie and the $55 million of The LEGO Batman Movie. A bit more concerning is that is also opened lower than Storks ($21.3 million), an original concept with no built-in branding. Ninjago just didn't seem to catch on in the marketing department as well as the first two films, and also seemed to target the young, male demographic, which cut out a large swatch of its audience in the process. It played mostly to that audience - 52% male and 46% under 18. It also earned a "B+" CInemascore, lower than both the "A" for the original and "A-" for Batman. The numbers mean Ninjago is likely to top out at around $75 million at best - not great for a franchise series, but hopefully things will pick up once The LEGO Movie 2 comes around in 2019. For what it's worth, the film brought in $10.5 million overseas thus far, and though it hasn't opened in many markets, signs say it will also earn less in the foreign market than the first two films as well.

4) AMERICAN ASSASSIN

With better action on top of the box office, American Assassin suffered a 58% drop in its second weekend with $6.25 million and a new total of $26.1 million. Still, with a relatively minor $33 million budget, if this one can leg it to at least $35 million domestic, it should turn out alright with foreign grosses included. It has made a meager $6.1 million overseas thus far, but it won't have to count on too much in order to make it to the black, though this is obviously not going to be the most profitable movie of the year, but it won't be a major loser, either.

5) HOME AGAIN

Rounding out the top five, Reese Witherspoon's harmless rom-com, Home Again, dipped just a bit over 36% in its third weekend out with $3.3 million and a new $22.34 million total. The $12 million film will soon double its budget and break the $25 million mark. Much like American Assassin, it will be a tidy little film, especially if it can reach a decent audience overseas (it has yet to launch in any foreign markets). Still, with solid holds since its opening, it has provided a welcome counter-programming to audiences and has managed to stick around.

Outside the top five: Friend Request was vehemently denied by audiences, opening to a weak $2.4 million in seventh place. Though it had a decent 3.4x multiplier over the weekend, I don't see this becoming another Unfriended and it will likely bottom out under the $10 million mark.

There were two, big limited release openings over the weekend. Battle of the Sexes, featuring Emma Stone and Steve Carell as tennis stars Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs, following the highly-publicized and (at the time) most-watched TV event, earned $525,000 in 21 theaters, for a nice $25,000 per-theater average. Also getting a lot of eyes in a few theaters was Victoria and Abdul, following the relationship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk from India. Across four theaters, the film earned $152,000 for an even more impressive $38 per-theater average. Both films will expand in the coming weeks.

In milestone news, Spider-Man: Homecoming may have finally fell off the top 10 (it only too 12 weeks) with $1.1 million, but its $331.89 million domestic and $542.5 million foreign means it has nearly topped $875 million, besting Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 ($863.4 million) to become the biggest superhero film of 2017 (thus far). That total also puts it ahead of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($873 million). It makes it the fifth-best MCU film worldwide and it will get darn close to topping Spider-Man 3 ($891 million) in the worldwide market.

Next week brings us another action film in the Tom Cruise, somewhat-based-on-a-true-story American Made, the horror remake Flatliners and the expansion of Battle of the Sexes.

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