Box-Office Preview: 'Kingsman 2' to Lord Over 'Lego Ninjago,' 'It'

Awards season kicks off in earnest at the specialty box office as 'Battle of the Sexes,' 'Stronger' and 'Victoria and Abdul' open in select cinemas.

Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Golden Circle should have no trouble dethroning horror sensation It in its box-office debut this weekend, or lording over fellow new entry The Lego Ninjago Movie.

Tracking suggests the cheeky action-comedy from 20th Century Fox will debut in the $40 million-$45 million range, ahead of the $36.2 million domestic bow of Kingsman: The Secret Service in February 2015. A sleeper hit, the first Kingsman went on to earn $414.4 million globally.

Kingsman 2 reteams director Vaughn with Taron Egerton and Colin Firth. Newcomers include Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal and Jeff Bridges. The story follows the Kingsmen as they head to Kentucky after their U.K. headquarters is destroyed. They must seek help from some U.S. counterparts (the Statesmen), who also have a still-alive Harry (Firth).

The sequel, which currently sports a 59 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, will also make a major push overseas.

Warner Bros. Animation's Ninjago, a spinoff of The Lego Movie, is tracking to open in the $30 million range. There's plenty of room for upside since it is the first family offering of fall.

Ninjago is based on the toy line of the same name, one of the brand's most popular with young boys. It is considered a smaller property than either The Lego Batman Movie, which debuted to $53 million earlier this year, or The Lego Movie (2014), which opened to an even bigger $69.1 million.

Ninjago is hoping for a second-place finish, but no one is counting out It, which enters its third weekend.

On Thursday, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros.' film adaptation of Stephen King's novel will pass 1973's The Exorcist ($233 million, counting the 2000 reissue) to become the top-grossing horror film of all time domestically — that is, unadjusted for inflation. When accounting for inflation, the lifetime gross for The Exorcist is a massive $917.5 million.

Nor does It's milestone take into account such hybrid films as The Sixth Sense (1999) or Jaws (1975). Some classify both of those films as horror-thrillers, but opinion is divided. Either way, It is a huge win for New Line — also the home of recent horror hit Annabelle: Creation, which has earned north of $100 million domestically — as well as having scared the box office back to life after a miserable August and tough summer.

Additionally, awards season kicks off in earnest at the specialty box office this weekend as Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight), Stronger (Roadside Attractions) and Victoria and Abdul (Focus Features) open in select theaters following a tour of the fall festival circuit.