Long Range Forecast: Will It: Chapter Two Float Past the R-Rated Opening Record?

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

8-Week Forecast

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 Good Boys $15,000,000   $43,000,000     Universal
8/16/2019 The Informer n/a   n/a     Aviron
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

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Alex Edghill & Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report