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‘It’ Stalks $103 Million Opening as Box Office Gets Frightful Boost Despite Irma

New Line horror movie breaks the record for biggest September opening weekend in a single day

Pennywise may be the terror of Maine, but he’s the hero of the box office, rescuing it from two weeks’ worth of record lows with an estimated opening weekend of $103 million from 4,103 screens, beating even the high projections set by independent trackers. 

At the start of the week, projections for “It” were set at $60-65 million, but quickly jumped to $80-85 million after the film earned critical praise and an 88 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The strong marketing from Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema has culminated in a huge turnout from “It,” and the R-rated horror film will likely become the fifth film of 2017 with a $100 million-plus opening despite losing hundreds of theaters due to closures forced by Hurricane Irma, which the studio estimated to account for a revenue loss of about 5 percent.

On top of that, “It” is set to rack up several records this weekend. The Stephen King adaptation made an estimated $51 million on Friday, beating the September opening weekend record set by “Hotel Transylvania 2” ($48.4 million) in a single day.

“It” also set the record for the biggest opening weekend for a horror movie, and dwarfs the openings for any October release as well. The opening day total is the highest for any R-rated film, and it’s expected to score the second-highest opening weekend for an R-rated film behind only the $132.4 million made by “Deadpool” last year.

Another encouraging sign for the film is its B+ grade on CinemaScore. While lower than the A- scored by the “Conjuring” films, it’s a solid grade that could lead to strong word-of-mouth and the long-term box office that Warner’s two recent hits, “Wonder Woman” and “Dunkirk,” enjoyed this past summer.

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Below “It,” it’s slim pickings for the rest of the movies in theaters as the Stephen King adaptation is estimated to account for 75 percent of total box office revenue this weekend.

By virtue of being the only other new release in a market that didn’t see any wide releases the past two weekends, Open Road’s romantic comedy “Home Again” will take second place with an estimated $8.5 million from 2,940 screens. That’s far short of the $10 million mark set by studio and independent projections, no doubt impacted by the weak 32 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating and a B on CinemaScore.

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” will take third this weekend with an estimated $4.8 million, followed by “Annabelle: Creation” with $4 million. “Wind River” completes the top five with $3.2 million.