The big screen adaptation of Stephen King's IT is primed to make more than $40 million domestically Friday, enough in one day to surpass the biggest opening weekend ever for a September horror movie. Appropriately 27 years after the TV miniseries IT forever planted Tim Curry's Pennywise the Dancing Clown in viewers' nightmares, the ghoulish clown began to creep back into people's psyches in the form of Bill Skarsgard when the first IT trailer dropped back in March - in the process, setting a record for the most online trailer views ever in a single day, with 197 million view racked up total.
Since then, the hype for the new IT has been building to a fever pitch, and fans finally got their first chance to see the film in Thursday night previews, which yielded an astounding $13.7 million in domestic ticket sales. The tally was enough to make IT the biggest Thursday night opening ever domestically for a September release, a horror film and an R-rated film alike - and by all indications, it will smash even more records by the time the weekend is all said and done.
According to THR, IT is on the verge of making $40 million or more on Friday (including Thursday night previews), making more in one day than the current September horror movie weekend record holder Insidious: Chapter 2 did in its entire opening weekend in 2013. By contrast, Insidious Chapter 2 made $1.5 million in Thursday night previews, an amount dwarfed by IT's Thursday night preview opening of $13.7 million.
At this juncture, the film is on track to gross $80 million to $85 million, which is significantly above the film's early tracking numbers and conservative estimates of distributor Warner Bros., which pegged the film for a $60-65 million opening weekend. Either way, the film is destined to not only crush Insidious Chapter 2's record but also become the all-time biggest opening weekend for a September movie, besting the opening for the animated sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 (which grossed $48.4 million in its first frame back in 2015).
THR has noted that a couple of different factors could affect IT's box office numbers this weekend - including, a potential loss in business due to Hurricane Irma and the general trend of horror movies dropping in business from Friday to Saturday.
Even if IT opens on the lower end of its estimates, studios and theater owners will no doubt be breathing a sigh of relief after the worst summer movie season for ticket sales since 2006 and the biggest season-to-season decline in summer box office business in modern times.
Luckily for all interested parties, an IT sequel featuring Pennywise and the adult version of The Loser's Club is already in the works, promising more frightening good times for audiences, and potentially another lifeline - should Hollywood and theater owners face a scary box office climate in a couple of years.
NEXT: Screen Rant's IT review
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