'Kingsman 2' Finishes #1 as September Grosses Near Record High
The weekend's new releases fell shy of Mojo's weekend forecast, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle still managed to debut larger than the original, finishing in the #1 spot. Unfortunately, The LEGO Ninjago Film fell well short of expectations as did Friend Request, which delivered a mere $2.4 million opening. There were, however, some bright spots among limited release titles as Battle of the Sexes and Victoria and Abdul delivered strong opening results as September's calendar grosses continue to pace toward record heights.

Topping the box office was Fox's Kingsman: The Golden Circle, delivering an estimated $39 million from 4,003 theaters. The opening improves on the $36.2 million opening for the first film, but the film's performance over the next couple of weeks will tell the true story. The first Kingsman turned its $36 million debut into a $128 million domestic run, a 3.54x multiplier. Should Golden Circle follow suit we're talking about a $138+ million domestic run, which would surely satisfy the folks at Fox if it can also match the first film's $286 million performance overseas.

As for that international performance, the film brought in an estimated $61.2 million from 55 overseas territories, a 63% improvement compared to the first film in the same suite of markets at current exchange rates. The performance was led by a $11.1 million debut in the U.K. nearly doubling the $6.4 million opening for the original followed by Russia ($6m), Taiwan ($4.8m), Australia ($4.4m), Indonesia ($3.3m) and Malaysia ($2.8m). The film has thus far debuted in less than half of the international marketplace with openings in South Korea (9/27), France (10/11), China (10/20) and Japan (1/5) yet to come.

GET MORE: Compare the two Kingsman films side-by-side

Quickly circling back to its domestic prospects, Golden Circle received a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, which is on par with the original. The film played to an audience that was 58% male vs. 42% female, of which 65% of the audience was 25 years or older and 60% were between the ages of 18 and 34.

In second place we find Warner Bros. and New Line's hit horror It, which added an estimated $30 million to its domestic total, making it the highest grossing R-rated horror of all-time (not adjusted for inflation) with $266.3 million, topping The Exorcist ($232.9m). Additionally, the film brought in another $38.3 million internationally from 59 markets bringing its international cume to $211.7 million for a global haul of $478 million.

WB's The LEGO Ninjago Movie entered the weekend with industry expectations targeting a $27-32 million opening. Mojo's forecast was even more bullish, anticipating a $35 million debut for the third film in the expanding franchise. Unfortunately, the film only managed an estimated $21.2 million from 4,047 theaters, the lowest opening for the franchise by a wide margin. Earlier this year The LEGO Batman Movie also underperformed against expectations, though not by as wide a margin. Of course, as was mentioned in our weekend forecast, the Ninjago Movie targeted the smallest audience segment yet for the LEGO series, appealing mostly to young boys while the original LEGO Movie appealed to a much wider demographic and the LEGO Batman Movie even segmented that out a bit by comparison.

GET MORE: Compare the three LEGO movies side-by-side

In terms of the breakdown, Ninjago played to an audience that was 52% male vs. 48% female, of which the males gave the film an "A-" CinemaScore vs. a "B" from women, averaging out to a "B+" overall. This is the lowest score for any of the films in the franchise following LEGO's "A" and LEGO Batman's "A-". As for that male-to-female breakdown, LEGO Batman was the exact opposite, playing to an audience that was 48% male vs. 52% female. Overall, 46% of the audience was under the age of 18 years old.

Internationally, Ninjago brought in an estimated $10.5 million from 37 markets. Russia led the way with a $1.7 million debut followed by Germany ($1.4m), Poland ($803k), Australia ($800k) and Spain ($604k). While we can't make a complete apples-to-apples comparison, those debuts are either below or well below the debuts for the previous LEGO movies in the same markets. Coming up, Ninjago will open in South Korea, Brazil and Mexico next week followed by openings in France, Italy and UK opening in October.

Lionsgate and CBS Films's American Assassin delivered a $6.25 million second weekend performance, dropping a hefty 58% bringing its domestic cume to $26.2 million. The film finished in fourth place followed by Reese Witherspoon's Home Again, which dipped just 36% in its third weekend with an estimated $3.3 million for a domestic cume now totaling $22.3 million.

Outside the top five, Darren Aronofsky's mother! dropped 57% after its disappointing debut last weekend, bringing in an estimated $3.26 million for a domestic cume now totaling $13.4 million.

In sixth is where we find the rough, $2.4 million opening for Entertainment Studios' Friend Request. Pre-weekend expectations from the studio were around $8-10 million, but the signals Mojo most often trusts for its forecasts were pointing to a debut much lower and to see it come in even below our $3.5 million forecast is disappointing. Based on the film's $110k from Thursday previews we drew a comparison to last December's Incarnate, which also opened with $2.5 million before going on to gross just under $5 million domestically. The film received a "C+" CinemaScore.

Finishing in ninth is Roadside's Stronger, which banked heavily on the film's strong reviews coming out of the Toronto International Film Festival as it debuted in 574 locations with very little marketing. The result was a $1.75 million debut with the top performing theaters located in Boston, which is no surprise given the subject matter. The film received an "A-" CinemaScore and played to an audience that was 65% female vs. 35% male. The film is expected to add ~80 theaters or so next weekend, banking on word of mouth and the strong reviews which led to its 76 Metacritic score.

Elsewhere, finishing outside of the top ten for the first time since its debut twelve weeks ago, Spider-Man: Homecoming brought in an estimated $1.1 million as its domestic cume now stands at $331.9 million. The film also brought in another $6 million internationally, pushing its international cume to $542.5 million for a global tally just shy of $875 million making it the highest grossing worldwide superhero release of 2017 so far, topping Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($863.4m) and Wonder Woman ($819.6m).

Just behind Spider-Man, in twelfth position, was Annapurna's expansion of Amazon Studios' Brad's Status, which expanded into 453 theaters (+449) this weekend and brought in an estimated $1 million for a $2,210 per theater average.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight's Battle of the Sexes delivered an estimated $525,000 from 21 theaters in NY and LA, Toronto, Phoenix, San Francisco, Chicago and DC for a strong $25,000 per theater average. The film will expand into 60 markets nationwide next weekend, targeting 1,100-1,200 theaters

Focus Features' release of Victoria and Abdul was the per-theater champion of the weekend, bringing in a strong $152,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a $38,000 per theater average. The film will be adding 75 new theaters next week as it expands into the top 25 markets.

Also in limited release, Good Deed's Loving Vincent brought in an estimated $24,304 from one theater in New York City and will open in Los Angeles next weekend followed by a national expansion throughout October and into November. Additionally, Independent's Unrest opened wit $10,700 from one theater and Bobbi Jene from Oscilloscope opened with an estimated $7,500 after opening exclusively at New York's Quad Cinema, the film expands to Los Angeles on October 6.

Overall, September grosses are on a record pace, totaling $594.7 million so far, $138.5 million ahead of where September 2015 was at the same point before it went on to gross a record $626.4 million for the month. Yearly grosses are also improving after a disastrous August, with 2017 now pacing -4.7% off 2016, improving on the -6.3% pace for the year at the end of August.

Next weekend sees the release of Universal's American Made starring Tom Cruise, Sony's remake of Flatliners, Pure Flix will release A Question of Faith and Novus is releasing 'Til Death Do Us Part nationwide.

You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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