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Box office preview: Kingsman, Lego Ninjago to slay It

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Giles Keyte/Twentieth Century Fox; Warner Bros.; Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

Though Pennywise has earned a pretty penny at the domestic box office, on Thursday becoming the highest-grossing horror film of all time (unadjusted for inflation), a slew of strong newcomers are set to storm the box office block, ready to burst his little red balloon as the Warner Bros./New Line title enters its third week in wide release.

Between Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and It, who will come out on top? Check out EW’s Sept. 22-24 weekend box office predictions below.

1 – Kingsman: The Golden Circle – $38 million 

Having bagged a solid $3.4 million from Thursday night previews, the Kingsman sequel’s new cast (Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum join the fun for the second go-round) have likely infused the series with a jolt of fresh energy. While critics haven’t responded (it stands at a 49 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 5.3/10), audiences don’t seem to care; the film’s midweek haul tops the similarly targeted John Wick: Chapter 2‘s $2.2 million Thursday take, and that film went on to gross just over $30 million over its premiere weekend.

2 – The LEGO Ninjago Movie – $38 million 

Warner Bros. Animation isn’t fixing what isn’t broken, as both of its previous brick-centric ventures — 2015’s The LEGO Movie ($257.8 million) and February’s The LEGO Batman Movie ($175.8 million) — earned respectable amounts in the recent past. While kids are back in school after a three-month summer break, The LEGO Ninjago Movie shouldn’t suffer from franchise fatigue, even with middling reviews a mere seven months out from the series’ last installment, as family audiences haven’t flocked to a major new release since The Emoji Movie posted a decent $24.5 million back in July (the grosses of The Nut Job 2 and Leap! are better left in the animated abyss).

3 – It – $30 million 

Sitting pretty as the record-holder for the highest September opening of all time, It has already steamrolled expectations after just 14 days in theaters. The most prominent genre title in wide release, It has yet to fully deflate even as competitors rise around it; the film will float its way into the top three for a third consecutive frame, with Kingsman likely stealing a small portion of its audience.

4 – American Assassin – $6 million

When faced with the choice between Kingsman and a ho-hum action-thriller in its second week of release, audiences will opt for the shiny, new one with Tatum at the helm. Expect American Assassin to take a steep dive through Sunday.

5 – Home Again – $3 million

The Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy held on stronger than expected over its second three-day stretch last week, dipping a slight 39 percent and should hold on similarly as effective counter-programming to Kingsman, It, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie.

Outside the top five, Emma Stone and Steve Carell’s likely Best Picture contender Battle of the Sexes enters limited release in approximately 21 theaters, where it’ll easily serve up a strong per-screen average.

Also in the Oscar hunt are Jake Gyllenhaal and Judi Dench, with the former’s Boston Marathon bombing drama Stronger and the latter’s historical costume piece Victoria and Abdul entering the market, where they will attract sizable crowds of mature audiences at 574 and four locations respectively.

Coming off one of the biggest box office hits of her career with the crowd-pleasing hit Hidden Figures, this weekend Kirsten Dunst heads to the polar opposite end of the cinematic spectrum with Woodshock, a two-hour visual poem (with a trippy narrative style to match) from Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who make their directorial debut. The film is likely to attract art-minded hipsters only.

Finally, Ben Stiller teams with acclaimed writer-director Mike White for the father-son drama Brad’s Status, which hits 453 theaters for the three-day frame ahead.