IT is primed to become the highest grossing Stephen King movie adaptation ever at the domestic box office in less than a week of theatrical release. The first big screen adaptation of King’s classic 1986 novel, of course, defied all box office expectations over the weekend, grossing more than $123 million in its opening frame and becoming the biggest opener for a horror movie of all time.
Hitting theaters 27 years after the IT miniseries starring Tim Curry as the murderous Pennywise the Dancing Clown terrified TV viewers, director Andy Muschietti’s feature film version of IT was not only a hit with critics, it essentially doubled the amount of money it was projected to make in its opening weekend (which was initially predicted to be in the $50 million to $60 million range).
Now, thanks to its stunning over-performance at the box office, the new IT, starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, will become the highest grossing King adaptation in its fifth day of release. According to Deadline, the film is expected to make enough money domestically on Tuesday to surpass 1999’s The Green Mile, which earned $136 million during its theatrical run.
IT, by contrast, has earned $132.2 million through Monday, and is expected to easily eclipse The Green Mile’s record sometime Tuesday. To date, there have been 33 King movie adaptations. Following The Green Mile, the third highest grossing King adaptation of all time domestically is 2007’s 1408, which earned $71.9 million in its theatrical run. No. 4 is 1990’s Misery (which earned star Kathy Bates a Best Actress Oscar), which earned $61.2 million, followed by Pet Sematary at No. 5, which earned $57.4 million in 1989.
Deadline is basing its estimates on IT’s big business on Monday, when the film earned $8.8 million. The amount made yesterday (at the time of writing this) was enough to make IT’s take the biggest Monday at the September domestic box office ever.
In all likelihood, the records set by IT over the weekend and on Monday won’t be the last ones the industry will see. Clearly the film is already a phenomenon – and at this point, IT will outdistance previous King films in terms of box office gross by tens of millions of dollars before it ends its theatrical run.
At this juncture, it’s hard to say if any future King adaptations will give IT a run for its money domestically, save the already hotly anticipated sequel (which officially still hasn’t received a greenlight). It’s all but a foregone conclusion, though, since Andy Muschietti and his sister, producer Barbara Muschietti, have already been divulging plans for the sequel including the huge presence of the young versions of the Losers Club in flashback scenes.
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