While horror movies might be a good way for studios to make a solid profit on a low budget, it’s extremely rare to see one serve as a studio’s primary tentpole. But such is the case for Warner Bros.’/New Line’s “It: Chapter Two,” which is expected to perform just as big as its 2017 predecessor, judging by its first round of tracking numbers on Thursday.
Two years ago, “It” smashed the glass ceiling for horror at the box office, earning a genre record $123 million domestic opening and $700 million worldwide, all on a very thrifty $35 million budget. That took trackers and analysts by surprise. But this time they’re expecting one of the biggest openings of the year.
Some trackers are currently predicting a $100-110 million opening, but others are expecting an opening in the $120 million range. Analysts and rival distributors tell TheWrap they expect tracking to rise as the film’s Sept. 5 opening draws closer, and that it is likely that “Chapter Two” passes the bar set by the first film. Even if it opened to the lower figures being projected, both “It” films would stand as the two highest openings ever for a September release.
Warner Bros. has done very well in recent years releasing films in late August and early September, which have been regarded as one of the few remaining dead periods on the 52-week release calendar. Last year, “The Meg” legged out from its mid-August release slate into September, earning $145 million domestically.
And on Labor Day weekend, another WB/New Line horror film, “The Nun,” opened to $53 million in the same weekend slot that “It: Chapter Two” is releasing, and went on to $117 million domestic against a $22 million budget. Expect this sequel, the pinnacle of New Line’s resurgence as a horror label, to blast past “The Nun” in less than a week.
Based on the second half of Stephen King’s iconic novel, “It: Chapter Two” takes place 27 years after the first film. The Losers Club, now adults who have gone their separate ways, reluctantly reunite in Derry to fulfill the blood oath they made to each other and finish off the evil Pennywise once and for all. Director/writer pair Andy Muschietti and Gary Dauberman return, as does the first film’s cast including Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Martell and Finn Wolfhard. The film’s new cast includes James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and Isaiah Mustafa.
All 44 Stephen King Movies, Ranked Worst to Best (Photos)
Where does “Doctor Sleep” place among the many big-screen adaptations of the horror master’s work?
Stephen King isn't just an author by this point: He's an institution, a legacy of classic horror stories that capture our imaginations, fuel our nightmares, and speak -- when he's at his best -- to our shared experiences as flawed, emotional beings. The best King stories scare so many of us that we all feel connected, and even the worst are usually pretty fun.
King's books and short stories quickly became hit movies, many of them celebrated in their time, and some flopped so hard that hardly anybody remembers them. Cataloguing every adaptation might be a fool's errand, so we made some tough choices and decided to focus only on his theatrical releases.
And even then, there are so many King adaptations that it gets tricky. The sequels to King's work rarely have anything to do with the source material, so they're all disqualified (even though some, like Larry Cohen's prescient anti-fascist monster drama "A Return to Salem's Lot," are genuinely interesting). We also cut King some slack and removed "The Lawnmower Man" from our watch list, since he fought to have his own name removed from the film and won.
(There are also some adaptations that are simply difficult to find in America, like the Indian adaptions of "Misery" and "Quitter's, Inc." -- "Julie Ganapathi" and "No Smoking" -- but we tried. We promise we tried.)
Even with all those caveats we felt one particular film deserved a quasi-official, honorable mention. Before we rank into every theatrically-released Stephen King adaptation let's give out one honorable mention...