Warner Bros.' IT Chapter Two opened behind the original 2017 film, but the sequel still performed well in its first weekend. The sequel arrives in theaters two years after IT came out and surpassed all expectations. The first film was a critical hit and propelled IT to becoming a box office success, too. The movie set a record opening for the month of September and went on to become one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all-time, earning just over $700 million worldwide.
Many have expected that the sequel could come close to the record-setting opening and possibly even the first film's global haul. After all, audiences now had a clear interest in the property and IT Chapter One left the door wide open for another story. While the first film featured a cast of mostly unknown kids, IT Chapter Two brought in Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader to take on the adult versions of some roles. As a result, expectations were high for what IT Chapter Two could do.
IT Chapter Two has now hit theaters and had a sizeable opening, but did fall short of the performance of IT Chapter One. According to Deadline, the sequel is on track to open to $91 million after this three day weekend. This will be the second-best opening in the month of September, falling only behind IT's $123M opening. Even though the sequel fell well shy of that mark domestically, it was still in-line with industry expectations. And, IT Chapter Two has racked up a global haul of $185M to this point, good for the second-largest opening for a horror movie.
There are likely two main reasons why IT Chapter Two was not able to match the opening of the first film. The first could be the lukewarm reviews that the sequel received. IT Chapter Two currently has a 64% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which may have cooled off some potential viewers from rushing out immediately. Additionally, audiences may have been slightly frightened by the nearly 3-hour runtime that the movie boasts.
The good news for IT Chapter Two is that it should still not have a problem being a financial success for the studio. Just like the first film, WB managed to keep the budget for the sequel relatively small compared to most blockbusters. IT Chapter Two reportedly only cost between $60-$80M, so the film should become profitable once it nears the $300M mark. With almost two-thirds of that gross already in hand, IT Chapter Two should prove to be another hit - leaving the studios to decide whether or not the franchise will continue on in some form.