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‘It’ Sequel Moves Ahead With Screenwriter Gary Dauberman

New Line is making strides on the “It” sequel, hiring writer Gary Dauberman to work on the script.

Andy Muschietti, who directed “It,” is expected to return for the second installment, although he has not closed a deal yet. Producers Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, and David Katzenberg are believed to be back as well.

Stephen King’s 1986 novel focuses on a group of friends in a fictional Maine community that battles the small town’s demon as kids, and then again as adults. The New Line movie, which opens Friday, centers on the children, while the upcoming film will follow them into adulthood.

“It” is expected to be king of the box office, opening to $65 million — with estimates as high as $75 million — which would set a September record.

Dauberman is one of three writers credited on “It,” along with with Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga, who was attached to direct before departing due to creative differences. Dauberman has written a trio of horror films for New Line’s “Conjuring Universe” —  “Annabelle,”  “Annabelle: Creation,” and “The Nun.”

Muschietti said in a recent interview that he’s already planning the second movie.

“I really wanted to focus on the emotional journey of the group of kids. Getting in to that other dimension — the other side — was something that we could introduce in the second part,” Muschietti told Yahoo Movies. “In the book the perspective of the writing … is always with the Losers, so everything they know about Pennywise is very speculative and shrouded in absurdity, so I wanted to respect that mystery feeling of not knowing what’s on the other side.”

New Line has not set a release date for the “It” sequel. Dauberman is repped by ICM Partners, Lars Theriot at Industry Entertainment Partners, and Eric Suddleson at Felker Toczek.

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