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Box Office: ‘It’ Stays Strong as ‘Mother!’ Struggles

Horror blockbuster “It” is showing plenty of staying power at the domestic box office, with an estimated $59 million at 4,103 sites in its second weekend.

It” is dwarfing a pair of newcomers — action-thriller “American Assassin” is heading for a distant second with an opening weekend around $15.5 million at 3,154 locations. The success of “It” was horrifying news for Jennifer Lawrence starrer “Mother!,” which is underperforming forecasts and should take in about $8 million at 2,368 venues.

“It” took in an impressive $19.2 million on Friday while “American Assassin” grossed $5.8 million and “Mother!” grossed $3.1 million. If “It” makes it to $60 million, it will become the 21st movie to top that figure in its second weekend. “Beauty and the Beast” posted the top second weekend of 2017 with $90.4 million, followed by “Guardians of the Galaxy” with $65.3 million and “Wonder Woman” at $58.5 million.

“It” will become the eighth-highest grosser of 2017 on Saturday, surpassing “Dunkirk” at $184 million, and wind up on Sunday with a sensational 10-day total of at least $215 million.

Based on the 1986 Stephen King horror novel and made for about $35 million, “It” opened last weekend with a stunning $123.4 million domestically — a record for September and the 27th highest launch of all time. The R-rated title stars Bill Skarsgard as the evil clown Pennywise who terrorizes children in Derry, Maine. The rest of the cast includes Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jaeden Lieberher, and Jackson Robert Scott.

“American Assassin,” a joint production between CBS Films and Lionsgate, generated a B+ CinemaScore from moviegoers. The film is an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s 2010 novel of the same name, starring Dylan O’Brien as a CIA black ops recruit trained by a Cold War veteran played by Michael Keaton. “Assassin” — which could be the starting point for a franchise — appears to be performing similarly to 2014’s “John Wick,” which opened with $14.4 million on its way to a $43 million domestic total.

Paramount’s enigmatic horror-thriller “Mother!” is opening in the wake of well-reviewed screenings at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. Yet general audiences gave the violent and arty film an “F” CinemaScore. “Mother!,” helmed by Darren Aronofsky, carries a $33 million price tag. The story involves a married couple, portrayed by Lawrence and Javier Bardem, dealing with two strangers — played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer — at their tranquil country home.

The surprising strength of “It” may have held down business for “Mother!” Paramount decided in July to move the “Mother!” release date forward by a month from Oct. 13.

The performance of “It” has been a tonic for the domestic box office, which had been sagging with a year-to-date total of $7.8 billion as of Sept. 13 — 5.5% behind the same point last year, according to comScore. The percentage decline had been at 6.5% before “It” opened.

Critical support for “It” has been stellar, earning the film an 85% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while “Mother!” has generated a solid 69% score, and “American Assassin” has a disappointing 37% rating.

Annapurna Pictures saw solid returns Friday for comedy-drama “Brad’s Status,” with $27,659 at four locations. The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, stars Ben Stiller with Mike White directing.

 

 

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