Although “American Made” is performing slightly above expectations, which have been in the $13 million to $15 million range, the film is set to lose to holdover “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”
The biopic, playing at 3,023 North American locations, stars Cruise as commercial airline pilot Barry Seal, who was recruited by the CIA after being arrested for smuggling in the 1980s to help take down the South America drug cartel.
“American Made” reunites Cruise with “Edge of Tomorrow” director Doug Liman, three years after the sci-fier preformed solidly, grossing $370 million worldwide. Critical support for “American Made” has been impressive, earning the film an 86% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The second weekend of Fox’s spy comedy “Kingsman 2” should repeat as the box office winner, with about $18 million, and the fourth weekend of New Line’s horror blockbuster “It” will finish a close third to “American Made.” But Sony’s reboot of “Flatliners” is showing little life, coming in at the lower end of modest expectations, with about $7 million at 2,552 sites. The studio did not hold Thursday-night previews for “Flatliners,” an updated version of the 1990 Kiefer Sutherland-Julia Roberts horror film.
“Flatliners,” which carries a $19 million price tag, stars Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, and Kiersey Clemons.
Both “American Made” and “Flatliners” are financed by Cross Creek
Fox Searchlight’s expansion of its well-reviewed “Battle of the Sexes” is performing in line with estimates of about $5 million at 1,213 sites. “Battle,” starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, revisits the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
The weekend is concluding what’s been a strong September for the overall business, which has rebounded from a dismal late summer thanks largely to “It’s” over-perfomance. The horror blockbuster should wind up the weekend with about $288 million domestically.
The overall North American fall box office is up 28.4% to $522.5 million through Sept. 27, according to comScore. Year-to-date revenues dropped 4.8% to $8.11 billion. That decline had been 6.5% at the end of summer.
“American Made” has already grossed $60 million in a week internationally, underlining Cruise’s strong appeal outside the United States. Cruise’s most recent movie, “The Mummy,” flopped in the U.S. with $80 million, but topped $400 million globally. His “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” opened with $23.9 million in its domestic launch in October of 2016, and wound up with $160 million worldwide.
Since 2007, Cruise has top-lined four $100 million hits, including two well received “Mission: Impossible” films, “Edge of Tomorrow,” and the action-comedy “Tropic Thunder.”
“There is no denying that Cruise is still a box office force to be reckoned with and for better or worse, he will always be measured against his unprecedented bar-raising string of hits from 1992 to 2006 that generated 12 $100 million-plus earners at the North American box office,” noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.
“Cruise is also a shrewd businessman and with ‘Mission: Impossible 6’ and ‘Top Gun’ on the way, it shows that he certainly knows on what side his box office bread is buttered,” he added.