'American Made' fails to beat 'It,' tying with 'Kingsman' for the No. 2 spot

New Line Cinema's "It," now in its fourth week, returned to the top spot at the box office after temporarily being unseated by 20th Century Fox's spy sequel "Kingsman: The Golden Circle."

Despite a 42% drop in earnings this week, the $35-million film, now the biggest September release ever (not adjusting for inflation), brought in $17.3 million for a cumulative total of $291.2 million in the U.S. and Canada and $553.1 million worldwide.

The Stephen King adaptation, about a group of kids terrorized by an evil clown, was directed by Andy Muschietti and stars Bill Skarsgard ("Hemlock Grove") as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. "It" boasts a B+ rating on CinemaScore and an 85% "fresh" rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

Universal Pictures' crime thriller "American Made," starring Tom Cruise, debuted in second place, earning $17 million this weekend, above analysts' expectations of $12 million to $15 million.

The $54-million film, based on the true story of Barry Seal, a pilot and hustler recruited by the CIA for a covert international operation, is the latest high-octane collaboration from Cruise and director Doug Liman, who previously worked on 2014's "Edge of Tomorrow." The film earned a B+ rating on CinemaScore and an 87% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

"American Made" is latest test of Cruise’s draw as an action star with domestic audiences outside the "Mission: Impossible" franchise. His recent film "The Mummy” flopped at the box office and was panned by critics.

"Kingsman," now in its second week, tied with "American Made" for the No. 2 spot, also bringing in $17 million, just under analysts' expectations of $18 million. A sequel to the 2015 hit "Kingsman: The Secret Service," the $104-million film, which debuted to a slightly less-than-expected $39 million in the U.S. and Canada, has taken in $66.7 million so far, despite a 56% drop in earnings from last week.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the series is based on a comic book about a secret organization of British super-spies. The new film, which follows the action as the British agents team up with their lasso-wielding American counterparts to fight a common enemy, earned a B+ rating on CinemaScore and a 50% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating the picture is scoring better with audiences than critics. Taron Edgerton, Julianne Moore, Colin Firth and Channing Tatum star.

Warner Bros.' "The Lego Ninjago Movie," now in its second week, was bumped to the fourth spot, grossing $12 million (a 41% drop in earnings) for a cumulative total of $35.5 million. The computer-animated film, which focuses on a crew of young ninjas under the tutelage of a wise master (Jackie Chan), earned a B+ rating on CinemaScore and a 53% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Justin Theroux, Olivia Munn and Dave Franco also lend their voices.

Sony Screen Gems' sci-fi horror "Flatliners" rounded out the top five, earning $6.7 million in its first week, under analysts' projections of $8 million. The PG-13 thriller, a remake of the 1990 film of the same name, follows five medical students obsessed with instigating their own near-death experiences to glimpse the afterlife, and earned a B- on CinemaScore and unprecedented 0% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Kiersey Clemons, Nina Dobrev and Kiefer Sutherland star.

After expanding to 1,213 locations, Fox Searchlight's "Battle of the Sexes" came in at No. 6 in its second week, earning $3.4 million this weekend (under analysts' projections of $6 million) for a cumulative average of $4 million. The film, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, follows the events leading up to the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and ex-champ Bobby Riggs and earned an 85% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Also expanding is Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions' "Stronger," which added 645 theaters and brought in just $986,560 (a 39% drop in earnings despite an added 71 theaters) for a to-date total of $3.2 million. The Jake Gyllenhaal-led drama is based on the true story of Jeff Bauman, a man who lost both of his legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and earned a 95% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In limited release, the Taye Diggs-led thriller "Til Death Do Us Part" opened with $1.5 million from distributor Novus Content, under analysts' expectations of $4 million or less. The PG-13 drama tells the story of a woman who believes she's in a perfect marriage until her husband becomes abusive and controlling. Malik Yoba, Stephen Bishop and Robinne Lee also star.

Pure Flix also premiered "A Question of Faith" in 661 locations with $1 million. The film follows the aftermath of a teen hitting a 12-year-old with her car while texting and driving and how the three families involved cope. Richard T. Jones, Kim Fields, Thomas Howell, and Renee O'Connor star in the faith-based drama.

Next week, Warner Bros. unveils sci-fi thriller "Blade Runner 2049," Fox premieres "The Mountain Between Us" starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, Lionsgate opens animated film "My Little Pony" and Quality Flix drops family film "The Stray" in 630 theaters. Additionally, A24 reveals drama "The Florida Project," and Eammon Films debuts thriller "Una" in limited release.

sonaiya.kelley@latimes.com

follow me on twitter @sonaiyak

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World