Weekend Forecast: Stephen King’s ‘IT’ Poised to Crush September & Horror Box Office Records
September used to be considered a “dump month” for the industry, but this year it promises to be anything but with a slew of buzzy, high profile movies on the slate over the next few weeks. First up is this weekend’s anticipated remake of Stephen King’s IT, which is tracking to potentially become the month’s biggest opener of all-time (current record-holders: Hotel Transylvania 2‘s non-adjusted $48.46 million in 2015 and Rush Hour‘s inflation-adjusted $62.56 million in 1998).
Our final analysis and forecast:
Warner Bros. / New Line
- Regarded as one of Stephen King’s most popular, terrifying, and influential novels, the existing fan base spans several generations and has been anticipating this theatrical remake for decades. The nostalgic angle could also serve to boost appeal, especially among fans of Netflix’s Stranger Things which was loosely inspired by certain tonal elements from King’s works.
- Social media trends have been extraordinary for a horror film, far out-pacing the Twitter and Facebook footprints of The Conjuring franchise and now lining up with R-rated, fan-driven films like Logan.
- Sources tell Boxoffice that pre-sales have also been remarkably strong, coming in ahead of The Conjuring 2 by a significant margin. Fandango reports it is now their biggest pre-selling September release of all-time (beating Sully) and their best pre-selling horror title of all-time (topping Paranormal Activity 3).
- The recent box office drought has surely left audiences — both fans and otherwise — starved for a “water cooler” movie to flock to and enjoy with an audience.
- With an 89 percent score and 7.3 average rating after 76 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, critical reception is strong — especially for the horror genre.
- The R-rating could limit sales among younger audiences that typically turn out for horror flicks.
- Although limited search strings have been employed, the asterisk to this film’s social media tracking is notable given the difficulty of searching for the film’s common word title.
- Reese Witherspoon has established a considerable fan base over the years. She also starred in 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama, which was formerly the highest September opening of all time from 2002 until 2012.
- Written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, The Holiday, The Intern), fans of her mother’s films are the target audience here.
- Counter-programming is the goal with this one, especially given the lack of female-driven films since July’s Girls Trip.
- Social media trends are noticeably behind those of The Intern, although part of that is attributable to the shorter marketing arm of distributor Open Road.
- While counter-programming could be a solid strategy in the long run, women tend to make up a majority of opening weekend attendance for horror releases — meaning the competition may still have a leg up on Home Again‘s wheelhouse.
- Reviews are, unfortunately, lukewarm with just a 47 percent score from 15 critics at the time of this report’s publishing.
The Weekend Forecast:
|Title||Distributor||Weekend||Domestic Total through Sunday, September 10||% Change|
|IT||Warner Bros. (New Line)||$81,000,000||$81,000,000||NEW|
|Home Again||Open Road Films||$6,600,000||$6,600,000||NEW|
|The Hitman’s Bodyguard||Lionsgate / Summit||$4,800,000||$64,490,000||-54%|
|Wind River||Weinstein Company||$3,740,000||$25,030,000||-40%|
|Annabelle: Creation||Warner Bros. (New Line)||$3,400,000||$95,300,000||-55%|
|Logan Lucky||Bleecker Street||$2,510,000||$25,690,000||-43%|
|Spider-Man: Homecoming||Sony / Columbia||$2,100,000||$327,870,000||-43%|
|Despicable Me 3||Universal||$1,280,000||$260,540,000||-49%|
Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.