‘It’ Sets Thursday Box Office Record With Monster $13.5 Million

New Line horror movie looks like the hit the industry needs

Stephen King’s “It” is exactly the jolt the box office needed after the worst Labor Day weekend at the box office since the Clinton administration, as the hotly anticipated horror film pulled in a whopping $13.5 million in Thursday night showings, making it the largest horror, R-rated and September pre-show result of all time, as well as the biggest Thursday preview for any of King’s adaptations.

New Line’s “It” tells the story of a group of 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 in the film directed by Andres Muschietti. Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman wrote the script, while Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Barbara Muschietti, Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg produced.

“It” also has a great chance to set the all-time September opening weekend record, currently held by “Hotel Transylvania 2” with $48.4 million. Studio and independent projections have the horror film making $60-65 million this weekend from 4,103 screens. Another King adaptation, Sony’s “The Dark Tower,” flopped earlier this summer. Now, “It” proves the horror maestro can still scare up a crowd, breaking “Deadpool’s” record for an R-rated Thursday preview.

The film will easily bring in the highest opening weekend gross for any King movie, topping 1997’s “1408,” which opened to $20.6 million on its way to $72 million domestically, according to data from ComScore. “It” should also comfortably top the weekend box office, as it debuts after a weekend with no wide releases and only one opposite it: Open Road’s romantic comedy “Home Again,” which is projected to reel in $10 million over the weekend.

Reese Witherspoon stars 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. Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who also wrote the movie, makes her directorial debut in the film, which also features Michael Sheen and Candice Bergen. Nancy Meyers and Erika Olde produced.