'It' Smashes Box-Office Records

Stephen King's It came to the weekend box office almost certain to be a big hit, thanks to a low bar set by terrible box-office traffic in recent weeks. The horror turned out to be a bona fide smash hit, however, with ticket sales that dwarfed those of any other movie that's ever opened in September.

Via The Hollywood Reporter.

There is nothing clownish about It, which grossed a massive $117.2 million from 4,103 theaters in its North American box-office debut. Overseas, It is also a hit, launching to record $62 million from 46 markets for a global start of $179.2 million.

New Line and Warner Bros.' R-rated film adaptation of Stephen King's novel — about a group of misfit kids in the 1980s who battle the demonic Pennywise the Dancing Clown — jolted the domestic box office back to life after seven straight down weekends and the worst summer in recent memory.

It shattered numerous records domestically, including landing the biggest start ever for a horror film or for a King adaptation. And it's the biggest opening ever for the month of September, not to mention narrowly passing up Spider-Man: Homecoming ($117 million) to score the third-best debut of the year so far behind Beauty and the Beast ($174.8 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.2 million). The movie's Friday take alone was bigger than the previous September crown holder, Hotel Transylvania 2, which pulled in $48.5 million for the three days.

Put another way: It, directed by Argentine filmmaker Andres Muschietti (Mama) turned into a movie for all audiences and not just younger horror fans. Roughly 65 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25. The genre can often skew heavily female, but males turned out in force (49 percent).

"Pennywise has certainly brought big dollars back to the movie theater and not a moment too soon," says comScore analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "Let's face it, people love horror movies and within the darkened walls of a movie theater, the communal electricity that is created by a bunch of people being scared out of their wits  is almost as fun as the movie itself; this is why the film has obliterated expectations and is setting records."

It's massive Friday haul of $51 million almost matched the opening weekend of Paranormal Activity 3 ($52.6 million), which was the previous record-holder for top horror opening.

The movie, starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, also made news on the R-rated front. It is the second-biggest opening for an R-rated film behind Deadpool's three-day debut of $132.4 million, while its massive $51 million Friday actually beat Deadpool's $47 million.

It follows the success of another horror tale about misfit kids that's set in the 1980s, the Netflix original series Stranger Things.

Internationally, It also saw some of the biggest grosses ever for a horror title, including in the U.K. ($12.3 million).

It had been projected to open to $65 million-$70 million, which would still have been a record. One wild card this weekend was Hurricane Irma, which resulted in more than 175 theaters closing Saturday and dinging overall box office revenue by about 4.5 percent. However, horror films generally under-index in Florida.

The weekend's other new nationwide offering was the romantic comedy Home Again, starring Reese Witherspoon. Hallie Meyers-Shyer directed and wrote the movie, with her mother, filmmaker Nancy Meyers, producing.

Home Again underwhelmed with an estimated $8.6 million from 2,940 theaters to place No. 2. Open Road Films is distributing the film.

Read the rest of this story at The Hollywood Reporter.

Did you see IT this weekend? What did you think? Sound off in the comment section below.

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