The September 2017 box office is on-course to set an all-time record, thanks in no small part to the immense success of IT. There’s been much hand-wringing about the lackluster performance of the domestic box office in recent months, following the worst summer box office turnout since 2006. A number of prominent films (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plants) didn’t perform well, a lot of previously can’t-miss stars (Dwayne Johnson, Amy Schumer) missed, and the summer left a lot of industry observers, and even participants, worrying about what this means for the film business at large.
These fears may have been somewhat overblown. Hollywood has had bad summers before, but a summer of bad movies can easily segue into a much better fall season, and even amid all the disappointments, films like Wonder Woman broke through and grossed a huge amount of money while also making a big cultural impact. In fact, thanks to one little Stephen King adaptation, this year is now on the verge of setting an all-time box office record for September.
Thanks to the huge horror hit that is IT, the September box office is off to a great start – and with two potential hits, Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, arriving this weekend, the movie business is approaching its best September box office in history. According to an analysis from Deadline, the overall September 2017 domestic box office is expected to near $700 million this weekend, easily besting 2015’s previous record of $616.4 million.
IT, which was released near the beginning of the month, has already broken various box office records, having made over $200 million at the U.S. box office in less than two weeks, and showing few signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, both the latest Kingsman and LEGO movies are expected to rake in significant box office totals, with The Golden Circle projected by Deadline to open in the high $40 million range, while The LEGO Ninjago Movie is expected to reach the high $30 million range.
Does the strong September mean Hollywood is out of the woods? Not necessarily; it’s rare for a huge box office phenomenon like IT to arrive in September, and big franchise hits typically avoid the month as well (the first two LEGO movies were both released in February, as was the original Kingsman). While the strong September is encouraging, it’s very much not been a typical September this year.
That said, the success of these films indicates that if studios put appealing movies in front of audiences, they’ll go to see them, regardless of what month it is. There are lots of promising films slated to arrive in the fall too, from Thor: Ragnarok to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so there’s fair reason to think that Hollywood will finish out the year strong after a weak summer.
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