September is looking to be a very good month for Warner Bros. and New Line thanks to IT, the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s tome of terror. The horror film has been generating plenty of positive buzz weeks in advance of its September 8th debut and the marketing machine has been steadily revving up over the summer. That’s all good news for fans of the book who have been anticipating the new adaptation, but the better news is that a strong box office opening is in the works for the Andrés Muschietti-directed picture.
THR reports that IT could set a box office record for a September opening weekend when it debuts in just a couple of weeks. That record is currently held by Sony’s animated, family-friendly horror hit Hotel Transylvania 2 with $48.5 million; the franchise’s first film holds the #2 spot with $42.5 million. IT is looking solid at a $50 million estimated debut and, if buzz gets even more positive once the first early screening reviews go public, it could go even higher towards a $60 million ceiling.
And it’s not just the presumed strength of IT that can bump up the box office, it’s the fact that September hosts some pretty weak competition. August ends on a quiet note with the religious drama All Saints, the Bruce Lee-inspired drama Birth of the Dragon and the animated foreign film Leap!; not super inspiring at the box office. September 1st doesn’t get much more encouraging since it lacks a major studio release; Sony/Columbia gets closest with a re-release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Even IT‘s weekend competition is low-rent: only 9/11, the ill-conceived exploitation drama starring Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg, and Home Again, Open Road Films’ rom-com with Lake Bell and Reese Witherspoon stand in its way. IT is probably sitting in the top box office spot for weeks after that, at least until Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The LEGO Ninjago Movie open on September 22nd.
Studio insiders are hedging bets, looking at more of a $40-$45 million range owing to the summer’s sluggish performance so far; September’s not exactly known for big openings, and IT has an R-rated tag, limiting its box office reach. Still, IT could be just what audiences have been waiting for after a slow summer and cinematic superhero fatigue. At either the low or high end of estimates, this bodes well for IT and its sequel, which will take the focus from the Losers Club kids to their adult selves. A strong box office performance should open up some really interesting casting opportunities for the follow-up. All we can do now is wait!
For more on IT, be sure to get caught up on our recent write-ups below:
- New ‘IT’ VR Trailer Floats with Pennywise through the Derry Sewers
- Atlanta Readers: Win Passes to See ‘IT’
- New ‘IT’ Footage Reveals a Horrifying Chase Sequence That Should Be Familiar to Book-Readers
- ‘IT’ Run Time Revealed: Will You Survive More Than 2 Hours of Scares?
- ‘IT’ Producer Barbara Muschietti Answers Burning Questions: Going Hard-R, Fukunaga’s Script, ‘Part 2’ & More