Stephen King's IT is not clowning around. The horror film, directed by Andrés Muschietti (Mama), debuted Thursday with a record-breaking $13.5 million in previews, flying past the previous reigning champ, Fox's antihero flick Deadpool, which earned $12.7 million in previews last year.
According to Deadline, the film had the largest horror pre-show gross ever, the largest R-rated preview gross, the largest September preview gross and the biggest-ever for a movie based on a a Stephen King book. With predictions for its opening ranging from $90 to $100 million, the film has easily distinguished itself in the horror genre very early on. The last horror film to have the biggest opening ever was 2002's Anthony Hopkins movie Hannibal, which grossed $58 million.
By surpassing #Deadpool, IT has proven just how well an R-rated horror film can do. This is extra impressive because Deadpool opened during a holiday weekend, when people are more likely to see films; IT has no such advantage working for it. The film also has a relatively unknown cast, whereas Deadpool boasted the star power of #RyanReynolds.
The Power Of 'IT'
The New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. film has been highly anticipated for quite some time, with fans anxious to see the Mama director's take on the popular King book.
Nostalgia has worked really well in films and in TV in recent years. With more and more reboots and revivals underway, fans have shown that they're clearly keen to revisit the themes of yesteryears. And IT, with its winning '80s nostalgia and the curiosity factor of how it would compare to the classic Tim Curry TV miniseries, certainly checks those boxes.
IT also feels fresh, with the twisted clown theme a welcome break from the standard horror fare of monsters and demons. This has also helped it score at the Box Office despite the summer slump that has hit Hollywood this year. IT is also the first big fall movie, and is one that can draw interests from multiple age demographics, which is a key factor in the film's success. The movie has also had an exceptionally strong social media presence.
Capping it all off, the film's solid reviews from critics certainly helped spread good word-of-mouth leading up to its release.
IT will help Warner Bros. become the king of the Box Office this year, with the studio's previous two major films, Dunkirk and Wonder Woman, performing extraordinarily well. Moreover, IT will reaffirm the studio's faith in the #horror film franchise given that a sequel (#ItChapter2) is set to arrive in 2019, and work has already started on it.
A horror film beating a superhero film is always surprising — especially Deadpool — but as IT's record-breaking success goes to show, no matter the genre, a good story can always lure audiences in.
Have you seen IT yet? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!