IT sequel plans are officially moving forward, with writer Gary Dauberman signed to return, and a 2019 release date likely. Now at this point, it’s true that nobody really expected an IT sequel to not happen. The writing on that front has pretty much been on the wall since the first IT movie trailer released earlier this year and set all-time viewership records, shortly thereafter. Current box office projections that IT could earn as much as $70 million during its U.S. opening weekend have only further sealed the deal. Still, it’s nice to know that Pennywise will indeed return.

In the current age of pre-planned franchises and sprawling cinematic universes, it’s actually a bit strange that Warner Bros. went the opposite route with IT, not even starting on the script for Chapter 2 until it was certain that the first film would be a hit. According to IT director Andy Muschetti, the IT: Chapter Two script should be completed by January, with production likely to begin around March of 2018.

Related: IT Early Reviews Are Positive

Now, THR reports that Dauberman – credited as a co-writer on IT alongside the originally-attached director Cary Fukunaga and his writing partner Chase Palmer – has closed a deal to return as writer of Chapter 2, and that the sequel will likely hit theaters sometime in 2019. Muschetti fully intends to come back as director, although no contracts have been signed on that front just yet. Producers Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg are on-board to return for the sequel too.

IT Bill Skarsgard Pennywise IT Writer Closes Deal For Chapter 2; 2019 Release Date Likely

Dauberman has become a go-to guy for Warner Bros. when it comes to horror, having written both Annabelle and its prequel Annabelle: Creation prior to IT – not to mention, he also wrote next year’s Conjuring spinoff film release, The Nun. While Annabelle was thrashed by critics, Creation and now IT have both gotten much stronger reviews, so it looks like that disappointing first effort may have just been a fluke. Dauberman is gaining a track record of writing big money-makers too, as both Annabelle movies have crossed the $250 million mark worldwide on very small budgets. IT looks likely to break the bank too, based on its record-breaking early ticket sales.

Tonight, the wait finally comes to an end, as IT arrives in theaters. Will IT live up to the hype? There’s only way to find out. Go on, head to the theater. There might just be a friendly, dancing clown with balloons waiting outside to make sure everything goes well.

NEXT: Why IT Movie’s Original Pennywise Actor Dropped Out

Souce: THR

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