‘It’ to Scare Away Box Office Dry Spell With Record $60 Million Opening

Pennywise’s return should score the biggest September opening ever

After two weekends of no new wide releases, box office analysts are hoping that. Warner Bros./New Line’s “It” can revitalize movie theaters after months worth of hype.

Since tracking began three weeks ago, “It” has been projected to blow away the record set by “Hotel Transylvania 2” for the biggest opening weekend for a September release. Both studio and independent projections have the horror film making $60-65 million this weekend from 4,000 screens, blowing by the previous record of $48.4 million. But some trackers are expecting even bigger things for “It,” projecting results as high as $70-75 million.

It’s a big return movie theaters desperately need after an end to the summer season that included the worst Labor Day weekend in 18 years and a final summer tally that was nearly 15 percent worse than last year. Year-to-date totals are nearly down six percent from 2016, with some analysts believing it’s unlikely that the final four months of the year can push 2017 totals past last year’s benchmark of $11.3 billion.

All the pieces seem to be in place for “It” to have a huge start. The first teaser trailer quickly went viral after its release in late March and currently has over 32 million views on YouTube. Since then, WB and New Line have unleashed a marketing campaign that included a gradual reveal of the new Pennywise, along with a VR experience and a haunted house on Hollywood/Vine.

Now the hype has been backed up with strong critical reception. Rotten Tomatoes currently gives the film a score of 89 percent, with 74 reviews registered. Meanwhile, Fandango reports that “It” has set a new site record for presales for any horror film or September release. If audiences embrace the scares as much as critics have, it could mean strong long-term performance for the film, as it could become a popular choice during Halloween season.

Based on Stephen King’s famous novel and the 1990 TV miniseries starring Tim Curry, “It” tells the story of several young misfits in small-town Maine as they try to uncover the mysterious disappearance of several people over the years, leading them face-to-face with the evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). Jaeden Lieber, Finn Wolfhard, and Sophia Lillis also star. Andres Muschietti directed from a script written by Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and  Gary Dauberman. Producers are Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Barbara Muschietti, Seth Grahame-Smith, and David Katzenberg.

Also opening this weekend is Open Road’s “Home Again,” a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon as a divorced mother of two who moves with her kids back to her hometown of Los Angeles, only to have her life changed when she allows three young aspiring filmmakers to move in. The film is projected to make $10 million this weekend.

The comedy also stars Michael Sheen and Candice Bergen and is written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. Nancy Myers and Erika Olde are producers.