If one needed a crystalized moment to convey just how far the horror genre has come since its first seedlings in the silent era with classics like Nosferatu or The Phantom Carriage, this weekend provided it. Andres Muschietti‘s It, the second run at adapting Stephen King‘s bewildering epic of childhood fears run rampant, will end Sunday with an estimated $117.1 million in the till, off of a $35 million budget. Even if the marketing cost $50 million, which it almost certainly did not, the initial profits are considerable. Indeed, It is already the biggest opening for a horror movie (or a King adaptation) in the history of the box office. It’s also the biggest September opening in recorded history and clinched the third biggest box office debut of 2017, beating out Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Update: New numbers confirm that IT actually pulled in $123.1 million at the domestic box office this weekend, setting the bar even higher for future horror debuts.
For the most part, this is deserved. It is anchored by the young cast that embody the Losers Club that battles the titular fear-and-flesh-eating clown-monster, and when he’s not being over-manipulated by digital effects, Bill Skarsgard is absolutely terrifying in the role of Pennywise. It’s also shot quite well, replete with memorable, often unsettling images and sequences. That being said, the absence of Cary Fukunaga behind the camera is felt viscerally in the overall lack of mood and atmosphere, the plot-centric editing scheme, and a notable excess of jump scares. It’s an amiable movie that might have been great had Fukunaga been kept on as the man behind the camera rather than Muschietti.
Regardless, It certainly has it over Home Again, another thoroughly unremarkable romantic comedy, which will land in the second spot with $9 million. That makes for a $108 million difference between the top movie and its closest competition, and a $113 million difference between It and The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which comes in at third place with $4.8 million after three weeks in the top spot. After that, there’s no point in bringing up its relation to Annabelle: Creation and Wind River, which came in at fourth and fifth with $4 million and $3.2 million respectively.
What will be interesting is seeing how It stacks up in its second frame, especially with another horror whatsit, Darren Aronofsky‘s mother!, hitting the multiplex. Even if mother! or American Assassin take the top spot next week, however, It’s already cemented its legacy and underlined the fiscal promise of modestly budgeted horror movies. And if the studios take notice — they should — expect a new flood of King adaptations both good and insufferable to be hitting the theaters in the coming years.
Here’s your top five for the weekend:
|Title||Weekend Domestic BO||Total Domestic BO|
|2. ‘Home Again’||$9,028,222||$9,028,222|
|3. ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’||$4,850,000||$64,897,007|
|4. ‘Annabelle: Creation’||$4,000,000||$96,267,010|
|5. ‘Wind River’||$3,210,200||$25,002,192|