It smashing records wasn’t as painfully obvious a prediction a few weeks ago as it seems now. An R-rated horror film, released in September of what been a very down year at the box office, and with no big names in the cast? Experts were originally predicting a ‘generous’ estimate of $65-75 million opening weekend, which in itself would have been enough to set some records. Updated projections however now estimate that It will finish out the weekend around $103 million, far surpassing even the high-end estimates.
UPDATE; As of Sunday night, the updated numbers have It surpassing the $103M projection from yesterday, finishing out the weekend with $123M.
Starting off Thursday night with $13.5 million, the new It movie (spoiler free review) set four records for a preview night with:
“…the largest gross for a horror movie, for an R-rated title, for a September release, and for a film based on a Stephen King book.” – Variety
After that, there were no signs of slowing down and by the end of Friday night, the box office total was already at $51 million. The record for a September horror release was $52M for the whole weekend, set in 2011 by Paranormal Activity 3. By recent estimates, It will just about double that by tomorrow.
This is the first of two planned films in the series, though rumors have already begun that New Line might try to spin it into a larger franchise. The film sets up several possible prequel ideas if they wanted to do another period piece, and if they delve deeper into the mythology, there is a long history before It arrived in Derry, Maine. He is an eternal being, a representation of evil incarnate, so we’ll see if they play with that idea following the planned sequel, which will likely be out by 2019. Personally, I don’t know if it’s a great idea to go past just the two films, as it was the kids that carried this one, and recapturing that with a new story outside of the novel seems unlikely.
As for Chapter II, screenwriter Gary Dauberman is already signed on to return for that installment, and he’s got no lack of credibility in the genre. In addition to this film, he has also written the spinoffs for The Conjuring series. He did both Annabelle flicks and is penning the upcoming chapter – The Nun. In addition to the Dauberman’s return, director Andy Muschietti is also expected back for the second film. He proved himself a good hire here, as It was as successful a follow-up to his 2013 horror film Mama as he could have asked for.
We’ll have more on the sequel as soon as it’s available.
Images: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros.