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Tom Cruise’s ‘American Made’ Battles ‘Kingsman 2,’ ‘It’ at Weekend Box Office

Tom Cruise has arrived to cap a record September at the box office. But it won’t end with a bang.

He’s starring in this weekend’s widest launch, Universal’s “American Made,” which is expected to land in the low to mid-teens at 3,023 locations. While that’s certainly not ideal for an action feature with a major movie star attached, the film’s finances are partially bolstered by having already earned more than $60 million overseas. Still, there’s a good chance that it will be overshadowed by the recent string of R-rated releases including “It” and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

Cruise stars in “American Made” as a commercial airline pilot who’s recruited by the CIA to fly reconnaissance missions over South America. He then becomes involved with a cartel and begins smuggling drugs and guns. Critics are on board, earning the movie an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

“American Made” reunites Cruise with “Edge of Tomorrow” director Doug Liman. That movie, released in June of 2014, was a domestic disappointment given its big budget ($28.8 million opening on its way to $100 million), but made up for that with global appeal, grossing over $370 million worldwide by the end of its run. Liman also helped launch the “Bourne” film franchise in 2002 with “The Bourne Identity.”

Unless “American Made” over-performs, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” has a good chance at retaining the top spot after coming in slightly below expectations with $39 million last weekend. The sequel from director Matthew Vaughn should earn close to $20 million if it sees the usual 50% drop from its opening weekend.

That said, don’t count out “It,” which is still very much in the mix during its fourth weekend in theaters. Last frame, it grossed close to $30 million, so this weekend it’s expected to score somewhere in the teens. The horror sensation — which is the primary reason why this month’s domestic total will easily out-gross the prior September record of $616 million — has earned over $270 million domestically and is approaching $500 million worldwide.

Flying even more under the radar is Sony’s “Flatliners” from Columbia Pictures and Cross Creek Pictures, which is expected to earn $7 million to $8 million from 2,200 locations. The psychological horror pic is billed as a sequel to the 1990 movie of the same name. Like the original, it’s centered around a group of medical students who conduct experiments to produce near-death experiences. This time around “Flatliners” stars Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, and Kiersey Clemons. It was directed by Niels Arden Oplev from a script by Ben Ripley.

Also opening this weekend is the Christian film “A Question of Faith” produced by Silver Lining Entertainment, and the thriller “‘Til Death Do Us Part” distributed by Novus Content. Fox Searchlight is also expanding “Battle of the Sexes” to 1,200 locations after opening to a strong $515,450 from 21 screens last weekend.

Notably in limited release, Magnolia is launching “Lucky,” the story of a 90-year-old atheist’s spiritual journey and search for enlightenment. Harry Dean Stanton stars in one of his final on-screen roles before he died earlier in September.

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