IT Chapter Two is a massive box office success, but it isn't going to beat the original's total. In 2017, a new cinematic adaptation of Stephen King's seminal novel IT was released and broke multiple box office records. Debuting to the tune of $123.1 million domestically, IT earned $327.4 million in the U.S. and $700.3 million worldwide. It became the highest-grossing R-rated horror movie of all-time and its status as a pop culture phenomenon ensured that a sequel would be green lit. That film, Chapter Two, hit theaters earlier this month.
As one of the most anticipated offerings of the fall, IT Chapter Two was always expected to be a major box office draw. That turned out to be the case, when the film earned an impressive $91 million domestically in its opening weekend - the second-highest September debut in history. Of course, the one movie that made more is the first IT, and the gap between the two installments is so large, there's no way Chapter Two will be able to top it.
The difference between the two opening weekends comes out to about $32.1 million, which is a significant amount of money. As of this writing, Chapter Two has earned $109 million domestically, compared to the original's $151.5 million. Major tentpole films such as IT tend to be front-loaded in their opening weekend before business steadily declines throughout the remainder of the theatrical run. It remains to be seen what kind of legs Chapter Two ultimately has (it isn't facing much competition this weekend, but Hustlers is expected to be a decent draw for adult moviegoers), though even if it sticks around for the next few weeks, it's still going to be trailing behind. This is typically the case in regards to sequels to record-breaking films; they rarely outgross the predecessor. Something like Avengers: Endgame is an unprecedented box office event.
Even before the actual figures confirmed the first IT would hold on to its box office crown, there were some factors working against Chapter Two in relation to its commercial prowess. For starters, Chapter Two has a considerably longer runtime when compared to the original, and that can limit the amount of screenings theaters can show in a single day (leading to less money earned over time). Additionally, Chapter Two reviews weren't as strong as the first IT, with many feeling if was a satisfactory ending to the story, while still feeling a bit overlong. For the most part Chapter Two reviews are positive, but the reactions weren't glowing. That might have impacted casual audiences' interest in seeing the film in theaters. Something like IT is big enough to be critic-proof, but word-of-mouth can sway box office performance in one direction or another.
Just because Chapter Two won't earn more than the original doesn't make it a disappointment. On the contrary, this (along with Joker's high projections) is exactly what Warner Bros. needed to save themselves from a lackluster 2019. Their highest-grossing film this year so far is Detective Pikachu, which made "only" $144.1 million this summer. IT Chapter Two is all but guaranteed to surpass that total and be a bona fide blockbuster. With a production budget between $60-70 million (peanuts when compared to other big studio pictures), IT Chapter Two is well on its way to profitability.
- IT Chapter Two (2019) release date: Sep 06, 2019