‘Kingsman’ sequel wins the weekend as ‘It’ breaks more box-office records

Kingsman The Golden Circle review

The weekend box office was won by secret-agent sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, but it was second-place film It that keeps generating buzz and breaking records.

Director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle — the sequel to 2015’s surprise hit Kingsman: The Secret Service — lived up to expectations with a big opening weekend, earning approximately $39 million in U.S. theaters and more than $100 million worldwide. The “R”-rated spy adventure managed to beat the $36.2 million debut of the original film, and although it wasn’t received as warmly by professional critics, general audiences gave it their stamp of approval with a “B+” grade on audience polling site CinemaScore — the same grade given to The Secret Service.

That wasn’t the film generating most of the discussion this week, though.

# Title  Weekend    U.S.  Total   Worldwide Total 
1.  Kingsman: The Golden Circle  $39M  $39M  $100.2M
2. It $30M $266.3M $478M
3. The Lego Ninjago Movie $21.2M $21.2M $31.7M
4. American Assassin $6.2M $26.1M $32.2M
5. Home Again $3.3M $22.3M $22.3M
6. Mother! $3.2M $13.4M $25.9M
7. Friend Request $2.4M $2.4M $2.4M
8. The Hitman’s Bodyguard $1.8M $73.5M $145M
9. Stronger $1.7M $1.7M $1.7M
10. Wind River $1.2M $31.6M $31.6M

Director Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel It — the first film in a two-part saga — became the highest-grossing “R”-rated horror movie of all time in U.S. theaters after adding $30 million to its domestic ticket sales. Its $266.3 million in U.S. theaters passed former record-holder The Exorcist ($232.9 million), and the film has only been in theaters for three weeks at this point.

Three other new releases made it into the weekend’s top ten films, but they mostly underperformed pundits’ and studios’ predictions.

The animated feature The Lego Ninjago Movie debuted with just $21.2 million over its opening weekend, giving it the weakest premiere so far among the three Lego-centric animated features. With its “B+” grade on CinemaScore, Lego Ninjago was also the only one of the three films to receive anything worse than an “A-” grade, and its 53-percent approval rating on review aggregator RottenTomatoes is the lowest of all three films by far. (Both The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie had better than 90-percent approval ratings.)

Also debuting this week was the social-media horror film Friend Request and the Boston bombing drama Stronger. The supernatural social-media thriller bombed critically, and didn’t perform much better at the box office with just $2.4 million in U.S. theaters. Meanwhile, the limited release for Stronger brought the film $1.7 million from 574 theaters, and it’s expected to expand in the coming weeks.

This upcoming week features a pair of intriguing new releases. Tom Cruise reunites with Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman for American Made, in which he plays real-world pilot Barry Seal, who was recruited by the CIA to assist in covert international operations during the 1980s. Also arriving in theaters is the remake of Flatliners, which features a new cast of young actors portraying a group of medical students on a mission to discover what lies after death.