Stephen King’s IT continued its box office dominance by staving off newcomers mother! and American Assassin in the films’ Thursday night previews. The first big screen adaptation of King’s massive, 1,153-page 1986 novel, IT has been a box office behemoth since its opening weekend a week ago; setting several September box office records as well as setting the high-mark for the biggest opener for a horror film ever on its way to a blockbuster $123.4 million in its opening weekend.
Not surprisingly, prognosticators are predicting IT will have yet another big weekend, making $50 million or more to flirt with a $200 million domestic cume by week’s end.
According to THR, IT is already off to a great start for its second weekend in theaters, earning $7.2 million at the box office on Thursday, bringing its domestic total $158.7 million. The cumulative take of IT dwarfed the Thursday night previews of American Assassin, which earned $915,000 on 2,000 screens, while mother! took in $700,000, also on 2,000 screens. Granted, IT had the benefit of ticket sales throughout the entire day Thursday, while its competitors at best had two showings throughout the evening.
Both films will be expanding when they officially open on Friday, with American Assassin playing on 3,154 screens, while mother! will be upping its total to 2,367 screens. Preliminary estimates peg both films to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million to $15 million each.
Based on Thursday night’s numbers, American Assassin – the first big screen adaptation of Vince Flynn novels featuring counter-terrorism agent Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) – looks to be the favorite for the No. 2 slot. No. 3 should easily go to mother!, director Darren Aronofsky’s horror thriller about a married couple (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) whose home is besieged by strangers. Of course, American Assassin has the benefit of opening on about 800 more screens than mother!, which will definitely help the action film’s bottom line.
Like IT, which was made for a modest $35 million, both American Assassin and mother! have modest budgets. So while the films are expected to be far out-distanced by the clown chiller, they won’t have much ground to make up costs if they meet the top end of their projected box office takes. American Assassin was reportedly produced for $33 million, while mother! was made for $30 million.
While IT will finish at No. 1 this weekend, there’s a good possibility the film’s box office reign will come to an end next week when Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The LEGO Ninjago Movie both open. Even though it carries an R rating, Kingsman is projected to open in the $40 million to $45 million range domestically, while Ninjago is pegged to make $30 million to $35 million in its debut.
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