Two years ago, It rocked the early autumn box office with a record opening weekend for the horror genre to the tune of $123.4 million, the September release to ever pass the nine-digit mark. This year, Warner Bros. and New Line look to achieve a similar feat with the second and final part of Stephen King’s epic novel, It: Chapter Two, when it opens on September 6.
Not only did the first film crack the genre’s opening record — as well as the second highest R-rated debut ever, behind Deadpool‘s $132.4 million — it went on to surpass The Exorcist ($232.9 million) as the highest grossing horror pic in domestic history with $327.5 million. That’s not accounting for inflation, of course.
The first film was an instant smash for a variety of reasons: King’s original novel is one of the most popular in his vast oeuvre and horror literature at-large. It’s come to be considered classic — not just because of his original book, but also the popular 1990 television miniseries. The first trailer smashed internet records for the genre as the modern adaptation captured the type of nostalgic appeal which has driven a number of blockbusters at theaters in recent years. In the process, a new generation of young horror fans were introduced to the now-iconic Pennywise and the Losers club.
Worth noting is that the first film was somewhat front-loaded in the end, earning a (still very strong) 2.65x multiple off its domestic launch. (Globally, it reached a massive $700.4 million.) That domestic split is worthy of keeping in mind as most “first installment” horror films tend to be leggier than that (for example, The Conjuring earned a 3.28x multiple). Then again, not only was It only half of a film, it’s hard to compare that pic to a wholly original film given the built-in fan base that rushed out on opening weekend.
With director Andy Muschietti returning, the promise of this being the end of the story, and — perhaps most intriguingly — an ensemble cast with several popular adult actors the likes of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader taking over their kid counterpart roles, there may arguably be just as much of a “must see” status for Chapter Two as there was for the first film. Perhaps, initially, even more of one.
As always, long-term playability will come down to word of mouth and how fans feel the story does justice to King’s complete novel once the narrative of both films are completely wrapped. Online buzz and social media trends following the first trailer release have been nothing short of positive, which are good indicators that It: Chapter Two not only has a chance to reach $100 million or more in its debut again, but it may have a fair shot at the R-rated benchmark held by the aforementioned Deadpool.
Another element in the sequel’s favor: not only is it the only true tentpole on the calendar between early August’s Hobbs & Shaw and October’s Joker, this has been a relatively quiet year (with exception to Jordan Peele’s Us) at the box office for the otherwise booming horror genre.
In short: not only are Stephen King fans eager for the epic conclusion, horror fans are hungry for the genre’s next big event. Chapter Two will undoubtedly be… it.
It: Chapter Two
Opening Weekend Range: $110 – 150 million
|Release Date||Title||3-Day Wide Release Tracking||% Chg from Last Week||Domestic Total Forecast||% Chg from Last Week||Estimated Location Count||Distributor|
|7/19/2019||The Lion King (2019)||$201,000,000||$650,000,000||4,500||Disney|
|7/26/2019||Once Upon a Time In… Hollywood||$48,000,000||-4%||$158,500,000||-4%||3,650||Sony / Columbia|
|8/2/2019||Hobbs & Shaw||$94,000,000||-6%||$230,000,000||-6%||Universal|
|8/9/2019||The Art of Racing In the Rain||$8,500,000||$32,000,000||Fox|
|8/9/2019||Brian Banks||n/a||n/a||Bleecker Street|
|8/9/2019||Dora and the Lost City of Gold||$28,000,000||$85,000,000||Paramount|
|8/9/2019||The Kitchen (2019)||$11,500,000||$34,500,000||Warner Bros. / New Line|
|8/9/2019||Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark||$10,000,000||$26,500,000||Lionsgate / CBS Films|
|8/14/2019||The Angry Birds Movie 2||$19,000,000||$70,000,000||Sony / Columbia|
|8/14/2019||Blinded By the Light||n/a||n/a||Warner Bros.|
|8/16/2019||47 Meters Down: Uncaged||$15,000,000||$39,000,000||Entertainment Studios|
|8/16/2019||Where’d You Go, Bernadette||$11,000,000||$45,000,000||United Artists Releasing|
|8/23/2019||Angel Has Fallen||$17,000,000||$49,000,000||Lionsgate|
|8/23/2019||Overcomer||$6,500,000||$24,000,000||Sony / AFFIRM Films|
|8/23/2019||Ready or Not||n/a||n/a||Fox Searchlight|
|8/30/2019||Las Píldoras De Mi Novio (My Boyfriend’s Meds)||n/a||n/a||Lionsgate|
|8/30/2019||PLAYMOBIL: The Movie||$4,000,000||$10,000,000||STX|
|9/6/2019||It: Chapter Two||$136,000,000||NEW||$305,000,000||NEW||Warner Bros. / New Line|
Alex Edghill & Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report