Pennywise the Dancing Clown is here to save the box office.
After Hollywood limped through a dismal summer movie season, Warner Bros. and New Line’s big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It is on track to gross a stellar $117.2 million in the U.S. and Canada in its first weekend, far surpassing industry projections and the competition.
The opening should break several box office records, including the largest September debut (previously set by Hotel Transylvania 2‘s $48.5 million in 2015) and the largest opening for a horror movie. It also marks the second-best opening for an R-rated movie (behind Deadpool‘s $132.4 million) and the third-highest opening of 2017 (behind Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). In addition to its 4,103 locations in North America, It is expected to take in about $62 million from 10,665 screens in international markets.
Heading into the weekend with generally positive reviews from critics, It seemed to resonate with audiences as well. Moviegoers gave the film a B-plus CinemaScore, which is quite respectable for the horror genre and suggests that word of mouth will be favorable. It also received 4.5 out of 5 stars in ComScore and Screen Engine’s PostTrak audience survey.
Directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama), It stars Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, and Jeremy Ray Taylor as a group of unpopular kids in small-town Maine who are forced to confront their greatest fears when an evil presence (the eponymous “It”) starts preying on local children. Bill Skarsgard plays Pennywise, the demonic clown manifested by It.
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King’s novel was originally published in 1986 and previously inspired a 1990 miniseries. Both those versions also chronicle the protagonists’ rematch with It in their adult years — narrative ground that will presumably be covered in a sequel to Muschietti’s movie, which is already moving forward.
The weekend’s other new wide release, Open Road’s romantic comedy Home Again, is on pace for a distant second place with an estimated $9 million. Directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of rom-com master Nancy Meyers, the film stars Reese Witherspoon as as a single mom in Los Angeles whose life takes a turn when she lets three young men crash in her guest cottage.
Reviews for Home Again were soft, and it garnered a B CinemaScore.
Rounding out the top five are Lionsgate’s action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard ($4.9 million), Warner Bros. and New Line’s chiller Annabelle: Creation ($4 million), and the Weinstein Co.’s crime thriller Wind River ($3.2 million).
On the specialty front, writer-director Danny Strong’s J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye is on track to debut with an estimated $44,280 from four locations, for a so-so per-theater average of $11,070. Nicholas Hoult stars in the film, which is being distributed by IFC.
Per ComScore, overall box office is down 5.5 percent year-to-date. Check out the Sept. 8-10 figures below.
1. It — $117.2 million
2. Home Again — $9 million
3. The Hitman’s Bodyguard — $4.9 million
4. Annabelle: Creation — $4 million
5. Wind River — $3.2 million
6. Leap! — $2.5 million
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming — $2 million
8. Dunkirk — $2 million
9. Logan Lucky — $1.8 million
10. The Emoji Movie — $1.1 million