Final numbers won’t be in until late Monday, but New Line/Warner Brothers’ ‘It’, directed by Andres “Andy” Muschietti, based on one of Stephen King’s most popular novels, looks to land with a $123-24 million opening weekend, making it the third highest premiere of the year behind ‘Beauty & the Beast’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’.
Roughly a month ago, ‘It’ was tracking to open to about $40M, but within a week, those estimations climbed to $50M. Just last week, it was trending upwards of $60M, possibly even $70M. Then, earlier this week, the buzz emerged that maybe ‘It’ could even make it to $100M. After Thursday previews and Friday’s tallies emerged, by Saturday morning, the estimation catapulted to $101M, then by noon, those projections jumped again to north of $103M. Now that the dust is starting to settle, the figures are astoundingly even higher.
Not to detract from ‘It’s success, but it has been several long dreary weeks at the cineplex, with nearly zero wide releases. That drought surely helped drive moviegoer interest higher than if ‘It’ had been released at a more competitive time. But Warner Brothers already had ‘Dunkirk’ booked for late July/early August, including IMAX and other larger screens. These premium ticket sales contributed roughly 20% to ‘It’s weekend total, so holding the film’s release made sense.
Viewer desperation may have contributed to ‘It’s strong showing, but on the negative side, pretty much the entire state of Florida was shut down thanks to Hurricane Ivan. But the loss only amounted to roughly 5-6%, as horror movies traditionally under-index in Florida. (The turnout was lighter than usual in the Houston area, which is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, as well.)
The industry took it for given that ‘It’ would shatter at least a couple of records, namely best opening for September and for a horror movie, which it did. The previous best September opening ever belonged to ‘Hotel Transylvania 2′ which took in $48.5M in its first weekend. ‘It’s Friday gross alone bested that entire three-day take.
It falls just behind ‘Deadpool’ for the highest R-rated opening ever, which generated $132.4M, but ‘It’ managed to beat the twisted mutant action comedy in a couple of areas, namely best Thursday preview with $15.3 versus ‘Deadpool’s $12.7M and best Friday, $51M versus $47M. That Friday figure also falls short of ‘Paranormal Activity 3’s Friday take which was $52.6M.
‘It’ is a hit with critics with an 87% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences are also reacting positively, with a CinemaScore of B+ and a PostTrak of 85% positive.
As stated, ‘It’ is the only major wide release to come along in weeks, so nothing else came close. Hell, nothing came within $100M of it! The only other new release was rom-com ‘Home Again’ which tanked with a dismal $9M take against a budget of $15M not counting promotion.
- It (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $123M+
- Home Again (Open Road) – $9M
- Hitman’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate) – 4.7M
- Annabelle: Creation (New LineL/Warner Brothers) – $3.9M
- Wind River (The Weinstein Company) – $3.1M
Next week sees the release of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Mother!’ starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeifer and Ed Harris. It’s a psychological thriller, but with ‘It’ only in its second weekend, this movie’s best bet is that its cast attracts an older audience who may not be up for ‘It’s straight-up horror.
Check back and see how it goes!