Two Septembers ago, IT shattered all previous conceptions of how well a horror film and a September release could perform at the box office with its record $123.4 million opening weekend and $327.5 million final total, in what remains one of the most impressive box office performances of the 2010s. This weekend, Warner Brothers is hoping to repeat that success with the release of its much-hyped follow-up, It: Chapter Two.
Duplicating that kind of lightning-in-a-bottle success can often be a difficult task, and IT: Chapter Two faces some uphill battles. The first IT experienced a perfect storm of hype, opening in the midst of a horror movie boom and capitalizing on nostalgia for both the original novel and TV adaptation from 1990. The first trailer for the film shattered trailer viewing records in April 2017 and from there the film’s release became an undeniable event, becoming the highest grossing horror movie of all time.
But while there has been a solid hype machine humming for this new installment, with the marketing drumming up that this is the conclusion of this saga, none of the trailers have broken any viewing records the way the original did. Granted, Fandango has reported that Chapter Two broke their pre-sales record for a horror film, topping the first chapter, but that’s traditionally the bare minimum a sequel needs to do. I am reminded somewhat of the Deadpool franchise, the only other R-rated movies to open above $100 million. While the first film broke records with insane levels of hype was well-liked by audiences, the second film declined from the original’s opening weekend, and declined further in its final domestic total. Could IT: Chapter Two go the same route?
Warner Bros. is deliberately lowballing the movie’s potential with a $85-90 million weekend projection, while tracking from Deadline puts the film’s opening in the $90-100 million range. Tracking tends to underestimate larger openers like this, but I’m inclined to believe the film will actually open within that range, with a $94 million weekend gross. While that would be a 24% decline from the original’s opening, it would still be a big win for Warner Brothers, and the biggest opening weekend for the studio since – how about that, the original IT two years ago.
Holdovers: Even without an event movie opening, the post-Labor Day weekend is usually a weekend of hefty drops for the holdovers, dropping not only from the inflated Sunday of Labor Day, but also dealing with the start of the Football season further deflating this weekend’s Sunday grosses. So most holdovers will probably be experiencing drops in the 45-55% range. Since IT: Chapter Two, an R-rated horror film, is the only new wide release, expect family films like The Lion King and Overcomer, to have the best holds for the weekend, while R-rated and horror-leaning fare like Angel Has Fallen, Ready or Not, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will have the harshest drops.
1. It: Chapter Two – $94 million (NEW)
2. Angel Has Fallen – $5.2 million (-56%)
3. Good Boys – $5 million (-47.5%)
4. The Lion King – $3.9 million (-43%)
5. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – $3.2 million (-51%)
6. Overcomer – $3.1 million (-46%)
7. Ready or Not – $2.6 million (-56%)
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $2.2 million (-47%)
9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – $2.1 million (-58%)
10. Dora the Explorer and the Lost City of Gold – $2 million (-51%)