The movie adaptation of Stephen King’s IT has now broken several Thursday evening box office opening records, including that for R-Rated movies previously held by Deadpool. King’s beloved 1986 horror novel about an evil spirit in the guise of a killer clown was adapted into a four-hour TV miniseries starring Tim Curry in the early ‘90s, yet a big screen adaptation took much longer to come together. Following years of development, beginning in 2009 and in which director Cary Fukunaga entered then exited the production, IT finally began filming in 2016, ahead of its release in theaters this year.
The film, directed by Andy Muscietti and the first in a planned two-part adaptation, follows a group of young kids in the city of Derry, Maine, in the late 1980s, as they do battle with the mysterious and monstrous Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard). Whereas August’s long-gestating King book-turned movie adaptation, The Dark Tower, crashed and burned at the box office, IT is already on its way to becoming a massive commercial hit.
Multiple outlets (including The Wrap) are reporting that IT earned $13.5 million at the domestic box office during its Thursday night opening. The performance broke Thursday-night records for three different categories: horror movies, September releases and R-rated films. IT, which is projected to notch an opening weekend total in the $60-65 million range, stands a good chance of breaking the all-time box office record for September weekend openings, currently held by 2015’s animated sequel Hotel Transyvania 2.
The strong box office performance of IT is a welcome respite for Hollywood, following a summer in which the overall box office was soft and several high-profile films under-performed. It’s also affirmation of the continued box office clout of (as well as general audience interest in) Stephen King adaptations, coming so soon after the failure of The Dark Tower. Interestingly, even though The Dark Tower had star power in the form of leads Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba, IT boasts a much more low-profile cast.
So why is IT doing so well? It’s likely a combination of built-in interest in the source material, a very effective marketing campaign and the overall vibe to the film. IT combines horror with ‘80s nostalgia and a ragtag group of young misfits that’s quite similar to both the popular Netflix series Stranger Things, and all the actual 1980s movies to which that show was paying homage to (actor Finn Wolfhard even plays a role in both Stranger Things and IT).
The true test will come when the IT sequel arrives, most likely in 2019, and it won’t have the benefit of either the Stranger Things-style young cast or the nostalgic ‘80s setting. But in the meantime, IT: Chapter One has now become this fall’s first big box office hit.
Source: The Wrap
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