Box Office: Tom Cruise’s ‘American Made’ Takes Off With $960,000 on Thursday

Universal’s Tom Cruise actioner “American Made” has taken off with a moderate $960,000 on Thursday night.

American Made” will expand to 3,023 locations on Friday and has been forecast to land in the $13 million to $15 million range this weekend. Cruise stars as a commercial airline pilot recruited by the CIA to fly reconnaissance missions over South America. He then becomes involved with a cartel and begins smuggling drugs and guns.

The film reunites Cruise with “Edge of Tomorrow” director Doug Liman. Critical support has been impressive, earning the film an 86% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Cruise’s “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” scored $1.3 million last year in Thursday-night previews for Paramount and opened with $23.9 million in its domestic launch weekend.

Sony’s “Flatliners” remake is also opening this weekend at 2,552 venues amid modest expectations in the $8 million range. The studio did not hold Thursday-night previews.

Fox’s second weekend of the spy comedy “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” has been pegged to repeat as the winner with around $19 million at 4,038 locations. New Line’s fourth weekend of “It” may edge out “American Made” for second place.

The weekend will conclude 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 closed out its third week with $1.7 million on Thursday for a stunning 21-day total of $273.9 million.

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.

“Who better than Tom Cruise to take us out of the month on an ‘American Made’ high note along with another round of ‘Kingsman’ and Pennywise-powered multiplex mayhem that will put the month’s fortunes at or near the $700 million mark — an unprecedented achievement for this often underestimated post-summer moviegoing month,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

“This is a great place to be as we head into the final three months of the year with the goal of at least hitting the $11 billion mark by year’s end,” he added.

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