‘It: Chapter Two’ has set a new global opening record for horror, taking in over $200 million worldwide on its first weekend. This is because Warner Brothers chose to release it simultaneously in 75 markets, versus the more staggered rollout of the first ‘It’. This was wider than the first, but Warner Brothers is still rolling the sequel out in waves. Most of the markets where it has already opened were in Asia, with Europe, Australia, Mexico, and others to follow this coming week. The first ‘It’ did not play in the lucrative China market at all (they’re not into supernatural horror), so it’s a safe bet that ‘Chapter Two’ won’t either.
‘It: Chapter One’ (just called ‘It’ back then) opened with $123.4M domestically– the highest ever for a horror movie, and the highest September opening of all time, on its way to becoming the highest-grossing horror film of all time– so all eyes were on whether or not ‘Chapter Two’ could beat that, and it could not. Following strong showings at Thursday night previews and on Friday, the sequel was looking to beat $100M domestically, but it ended up topping out at $91-$92M. Part of the challenge is the fact that the new one is longer, at nearly three hours.
It was also noticeably front-loaded. ‘Chapter Two’ set records for horror presales on Fandango and Atom Tickets, topping last fall’s ‘Halloween’, and this spring’s ‘Us’. While Thursday night previews and Friday night box office were (*ahem*) killer, by Saturday the audience shrank significantly, meaning that this movie had a passionate following, and the devoted rushed out to see it as soon as possible. But after that, the crowds deflated like a day-old red balloon. (The same thing happened this summer with ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’.)
That was reflected in its audience scores. Thursday night audiences gave ‘Chapter Two’ a glowing four out of five stars through PostTrak, but after Friday and Saturday, that dipped to 3½ stars. Those under 18, gave it a stellar A CinemaScore, but overall, its score is B+, equal to ‘Chapter One’. (Which is undeserved, as it is not nearly as good as ‘Chapter One’. Jussayin’.)
Once again, the long run time is eyed as a problem. Yes, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was three hours-long and broke every record it could find, but that was a mass-appeal movie that drew audiences of every demographic. ‘It: Chapter Two’ is an R-rated horror movie, so it’s audiences is significantly smaller, to begin with. On the plus side, a long run time isn’t a deterrent to foreign audiences, so that won’t hurt it worldwide.
It’s no secret that the box office has been fairly dismal for about a month, with last weekend being the nadir. Though ‘It: Chapter Two’ has breathed life into theaters, it was the only movie that people were checking out this weekend. The grosses for the rest of the Top Five are all in the single digits.
- It: Chapter Two (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $91-$92M
- Angel Has Fallen (Millennium/Lionsgate) – $6M
- Good Boys (Universal) – $5.4M
- The Lion King (Disney) – $4.1M
- Overcomer (Sony) – $3.75M
The faith-based ‘Overcomer’ edged out ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ by $50,000, approximately, so the ‘Fast & Furious’ spinoff has slipped out of the Top Five. Easing up is Roadside Pictures’ sleeper ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’, which made $2.28M this weekend to come in at #7. It has made $12.2M total, thanks to a slow roll-out.
‘It: Chapter Two’ should float to the top again next weekend, as it biggest competition will be the Jennifer Lopez stripper movie ‘Hustlers’, even though that movie is being eyed to possibly be the best opening of Lopez’s career– between $20-$30M. But even if ‘It’ drops by 50%, it will still come out higher than that.
Check back to see if the Losers Club will wind up winners… or if the adult Losers live up to their name.