Warner Bros./New Line’s “It” has performed beyond box office analysts’ wildest dreams — or nightmares — posting an opening weekend of $117.1 million from 4,103 screens. That gives it the third-highest opening weekend of 2017 behind only “Beauty and the Beast” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and puts it just above the $117 million opening made by “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s famous novel will easily become the biggest opening for a film released in September or October and more than double the record set by “Hannibal” in 2001 for biggest horror movie opening. It also has the record for the biggest horror movie opening on IMAX screens, making $7 million from 370 locations, as well as the biggest overseas horror opening with $62 million from 46 markets and taking the genre record in markets like Australia, Brazil and the U.K.
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“It” has become so big, it has come close to the record for the biggest opening for any R-rated film, which is currently held by “Deadpool” with $132.4 million. It is expected to fall short, however, because of theater closures in Houston and Florida due to the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The closures are estimated by industry sources to account for a 5-6 percent drop in revenue.
Still, the success of “It” is some refreshing news for movie theaters, which haven’t had a movie with must-see status to screen since “Dunkirk” in mid-July. With no serious competition against it, “It” is estimated to account for around 75 percent of total revenue this weekend and has alone exceeded the $96.3 million made last weekend.
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At the start of this past week, trackers expected “It” to make $60-65 million, which still would have made it the biggest September opening ever. But after positive reviews came in and gave the film an 88 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the projections were bumped to $80-90 million. After a Friday that saw “It” score the biggest preview numbers for an R-title and beat the September opening record in just one day, the hype and word-of-mouth for the film rolled from critics to audiences, who gave the film a B+ on CinemaScore. Strong social media activity took care of the rest.
In a very distant second is Open Road’s “Home Again,” making an estimated $8.7 million after pre-weekend projections had it making $10 million this weekend. The film has a B on CinemaScore and a 33 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Holdovers complete the top 5, with “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” making $4.8 million, “Annabelle: Creation” making $4 million and “Wind River” making $3.1 million. “Annabelle: Creation” is expected to cross the $100 million mark, continuing a strong streak for Warner Bros. going back to the release of “Wonder Woman” in June.