×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: Stephen King’s ‘It’ Officially Opens to Massive $123 Million

UPDATED 9/11:It” came; “It” saw; “It” conquered.

The New Line and Warner Bros. adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is officially shattering box office records during its opening weekend. The R-rated horror film made a whopping $123.1 million from 4,103 locations, as of Monday morning. On Sunday, the studio gave a more cautious estimate of $117.2 million, taking into account the potential effects of Hurricane Irma and the NFL. So “It” officially has the third-largest opening weekend of 2017, more than “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which made $117 million. Only “Beauty and the Beast” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” earned more this year. Imax screens accounted for $6.7 million of the total.

“There’s something really special about the story itself, the way the movie was made, and the marketing,” Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief at Warner Bros said on Sunday. “The stars aligned on this, and we still have some room to grow for the weekend.”

“It” earned a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 87% and a B+ CinemaScore. Its gender breakdown is reportedly 51% female and 49% male. About two thirds of the audience has been over 25 years old.

Popular on Variety

“It’s” opening is mostly unprecedented, crushing the record for largest September debut set by “Hotel Transylvania 2” in 2015 with $48.5 million, and the biggest opening weekend banked by a horror or supernatural film — “Paranormal Activity 3” earned $52.6 million in 2011. When it comes to R-rated movie launches, “It” falls only to “Deadpool,” which changed the game in 2016 with a massive $132.4 million opening. This, during a weekend when Hurricane Irma threatens huge portions of Florida and Georgia, which could dent attendance by as much as 5%.

In addition to its domestic grosses, the horror hit is expected to pull in $62 million from 46 markets overseas, giving “It” a $185 million global debut. That’s a huge win for a movie with an estimated $35 million production budget.

Horror films often have lower budgets than other more CGI-dense blockbusters, so the return on investment has potential to be massive. Goldstein said the genre is one that New Line particularly excels in, and there is potential to see more horror in the future if the right story comes along. “If we were able to find more films in this genre, we’d be thrilled to make them,” he said.

The movie comes courtesy of Argentine director Andy Muschietti, who is known for the 2013 horror film “Mama.” Bill Skarsgard stars as Pennywise the Clown, who terrorizes young children in Derry, Maine. The rest of the cast includes youngsters Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott in supporting roles.

That leaves Open Road’s “Home Again” trailing far behind. The Reese Witherspoon-led romantic comedy should earn $9 million this weekend from 2,940 locations. The $15 million project was directed by Hallie Meyer-Shyer, the daughter of Nancy Meyers, who also worked on the film as a producer. The story centers on Witherspoon’s character — a mother of two who unexpectedly has three young men come to live with her following a recent separation from her husband.

Lionsgate’s “Hitman’s Bodyguard” is landing in third with $4.9 million from 3,322 locations after winning the domestic box office for the past three weekends. “Annabelle: Creation” from Warner Bros. is next with $4 million from 3,003 spots. And “Wind River” caps the top five with an anticipated $3.2 million from 2,890 theaters.

For the movie business, “It” couldn’t have come at a better time. Following a dismal summer box office that plunged 14.6% from last summer to $3.8 billion, “It” serves in part as the pick-me-up the industry was desperately craving. After this weekend, the year to date box office will improve from 6.5% behind 2016 to 5.5%, according to data provided by comScore.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore, attributed the film’s success to the “universality of the fear of clowns” which created an “event for fans who came out to be scared en masse in the communal environment of the movie theater.”

He added, “The marketing campaign brilliantly evoked a sense of teenage wonderment, fear, and ultimately bravery in the face of the true evil as perfectly embodied by Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. That, along with the great ensemble cast of young actors and a movie that delivered on the promise of that marketing, made the film an astonishing over-performer.”

A sequel is already in the works at New Line with Gary Dauberman attached to write the script, and Muschietti expected to return to the director’s chair.

Regarding plans for the next movie, Goldstein said, “It puts more pressure on us to come up with the best version of the story so we bring fans what they want to see. We’ve had a lot of history with franchises. Some are great, and some we wish we had a little bit more story. Fortunately, there’s a lot here in this story.”

More Film

  • Little Women

    Writers Infuse Serious WGA Awards Contenders 'Parasite,' 'Little Women,' 'Jojo Rabbit' with Humor

    This year’s crop of WGA-nominated adapted and original screenplays appears on the surface to be a grim lot. There’s war (“1917,” “Jojo Rabbit”), insidious homewreckers (“Parasite”), a Civil War-era coming-of age (“Little Women”) and an arch murder investigation (“Knives Out”), to name just a few of the nominated scripts. But here’s a surprise: Every one [...]

  • Cathy Yan Birds of Prey Director

    'Birds of Prey' Director Cathy Yan Reveals the Crucial Advice Patty Jenkins Gave Her

    Just months after Cathy Yan’s feature directing debut, Shanghai-set ensemble comedy “Dead Pigs,” made a big splash at Sundance in 2018, the Chinese-born filmmaker landed a gig helming a giant studio franchise movie, the DC Comics adaptation “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” starring Margot Robbie. Going straight from indie buzz [...]

  • Gloria Allred

    Gloria Allred Rips Apart Weinstein's Defense Team for 'Putting the Blame on Women'

    Shortly after Harvey Weinstein accuser Miriam Haley took the stand and testified that she was sexually assaulted by the fallen movie mogul over a decade ago, her attorney Gloria Allred ripped apart Weinstein’s defense team, speaking to press outside of the courthouse. During the six-hour testimony, Haley told the jury that Weinstein forcibly performed oral [...]

  • The Man Standing Next

    Korea Box Office: ‘Man Standing Next’ Dominates Holiday Weekend With $25 Million Haul

    Locally-made political drama, “The Man Standing Next” dominated the four-day Lunar New Year holiday weekend box office in South Korea. Opening on Wednesday (Jan. 22), the Showbox release earned $24.5 million from 3.23 million admissions over its opening six days. It accounted for more than 53% of the total holiday weekend box office. Set 40 [...]

  • The Last Thing He Wanted

    'The Last Thing He Wanted': Film Review

    Writer-director Dee Rees’ career continues to be a fascinating journey to follow. From her breakthrough feature debut, the soulful coming-of-age indie “Pariah,” to the Oscar-nominated literary adaptation “Mudbound,” the filmmaker has been confidently expanding her range with every new effort. That gutsy spirit is very much at the center of her latest, “The Last Thing [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Oscar Win Dear Basketball

    Kobe Bryant's Death Cuts Short a Promising Second Act in Entertainment

    In all things, Kobe Bryant was nothing if not exacting. He was driven, demanding and relentless in pursuit of greatness. His tragic death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 at the age of 41, an accident that also took his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, means that the entertainment industry will never know what [...]

  • Liselott Forsman

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond CEO Liselott Forsman on 2020, a Record Budget, Growth

    The Nordisk Film & TV Fond is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a new CEO at the helm: Writer, producer and chair of the EBU Fiction Expert Group Liselott Forsman. This week, the executive heads to the Göteborg Film Festival as one of the event’s key figures. There, she will preside the Nordisk Film & [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content