Box-Office Preview: Tom Cruise's 'American Made' Takes on 'Flatliners,' 'Kingsman 2'

Elsewhere, Emma Stone and Steve Carell's 'Battle of the Sexes' expands nationwide, while Watergate drama 'Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House' opens in select cinemas.

Tom Cruise could have trouble grounding a group of cheeky spies at the box office this weekend.

American Made, starring Cruise as a real-life pilot who smuggled cocaine for an infamous Colombia cartel in the 1980s before turning CIA informant, flies into more than 3,000 theaters on Friday, including a major play in Imax houses. Prerelease tracking suggests the action-drama will open in the $15 million range, likely not enough to beat holdover Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which debuted to $45.5 million last weekend.

Universal says a launch in the low- to- mid-teen millions would be fine, since American Made is likely to have lasting power thanks to stellar reviews and positive word of mouth. Also, the film has already earned $60 million overseas, where Cruise arguably remains a bigger star. The actor could use a win at the North American box office after his last two movies, The Mummy (2017) and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016), turned in soft performances.

American Made reunites Cruise with his Edge of Tomorrow director, Doug Liman. Cross Creek Pictures financed the film, with the budget reportedly brought down to $50 million after tax rebates and incentives. Cross Creek produced alongside Imagine Entertainment and Quadrant Pictures. American Made currently boasts an 88 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the best scores of Cruise's career. Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, E. Roger Mitchell, Jesse Plemons, Lola Kirke, Alejandro Edda, Benito Martinez, Caleb Landry Jones and Jayma Mays co-star.

Cross Creek will have a busy weekend between American Made and its Flatliners remake from Sony. The horror pic, rolling out in 2,200 locations, is tracking to debut between $10 million and $12 million domestically. (Sony is being much more conservative in suggesting $7 million to $8 million.)

The horror genre has been doing terrifying business at the box office this year with such R-rated hits as It and Annabelle: Creation, whose success can be attributed in part to a strong turnout by younger moviegoers. Flatliners, rated a friendlier PG-13, is likewise expected to appeal to teens and young adults.

Directed by Joel Schumacher, 1990's Flatliners starred Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon as five medical students who conduct near-death experiments by stopping their hearts for short bursts of time. Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton and Kiersey Clemons star in the $19 million remake, which was helmed by Niels Arden Oplev.

Indie psychological horror film Til Death Do Us Part, starring Annie Ilonzeh, Stephen Bishop and Taye Diggs, also opens nationwide this weekend, while Christian pic A Question of Faith, whose cast includes Richard T. Jones, Kim Fields, C. Thomas Howell, Renee O'Connor, Gregory Alan Williams, T.C. Stallings and Jaci Velasquez, goes out in 661 theaters with hopes of debuting between $1 million and $1.5 million.

Elsewhere, Fox Searchlight's awards contender Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs, expands across the country into a total 1,200 theaters after launching in 21 cinemas last weekend.

Opening in select markets on Friday is Sony Pictures Classics' Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. The Watergate biographical drama stars Liam Neeson as "Deep Throat," the anonymous source who fed information to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Diane Lane, Maika Monroe and Tony Goldwyn also star in Felt, which premiered earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival.