Movie studios were hurting badly this summer because of the lowest ticket sales in over twenty years. The lack of positive financial performance of the major blockbusters released this summer put the entire film industry on edge.
Then along came the movie It.
It is a remake of the Stephen King horror story directed by Andy Muschietti. The terrifying character of Pennywise the Clown is the central antagonist in the film. Warner Brothers/New Line, that released the film, was confident that it would do well; however, nobody expected it would smash all records. The financial projections expected the film, which was made for $35 million, to do $70 million in the USA. In spite of the hurricanes and the normally weaker release time of September, the film garnered over $123 million at the box office on its opening weekend.
Paste Magazine said that the record-breaking numbers upstaged all previous horror films. The previous record holders for the horror genre are Hannibal, which had a $58 million opening weekend and Paranormal Activity 3, which had a $53 million opening weekend. For films released during September, the previous record holder is Hotel Transylvania 2, which captured $48.5 million during its opening weekend. It also beat all previous films of any genre released in the fall (September to October). The record holder for fall releases used to be Gravity, which earned $55.8 million on its opening weekend.
The numbers for It are astounding; more than double any other film. The financial performance is akin to major blockbusters that cost much more to make. It holds the third highest opening weekend for all films released during 2017 coming after Beauty and the Beast with $174.8 million and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with $146.5 million. The $35 million production budget of It compares very favorably to the $160 million spent making Beauty and the Beast and the $200 million spent making Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It is the kind of cash cow that makes movie studio execs salivate. There were no major stars to pay, and the advertising budget was recouped from the opening weekend’s proceeds.
This proves that when Hollywood makes a great film, it can come out any time of the year, even in the middle of a major national disaster, and still make a ton of money. Stephen King should be very proud that his story is extremely popular once again.