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Entertainment Weekly


It balloons to highest horror box office haul of all time

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It‘s box office grosses certainly aren’t lurking down in the sewers.

Per Warner Bros.’ and New Line’s reported ticket sales from Thursday, the Stephen King adaptation has earned a milestone achievement for horror movies, bounding past the 1973 classic The Exorcist to become the genre’s highest grossing title of all time at the domestic box office, unadjusted for inflation (according to Box Office Mojo, The Exorcist‘s $232.9 million gross translates to roughly $983.3 million in 2017 dollars).

Adding approximately $3.94 million yesterday to its already stellar total, It has made $236.34 million domestically in a mere 14 days, the biggest take for a horror flick in U.S. history. The film’s worldwide numbers still trail The Exorcist‘s record-setting $441.3 million global haul, however, as the film’s international numbers push it to a still impressive $404.3 million cume.

This isn’t the only record It has broken during its short tenure in theaters thus far. The picture’s $123.4 million opening weekend registered the biggest September debut (a bar previously set by Hotel Transylvania 2′s $48.5 million debut back in 2015), the largest opening for a horror release, and the second-best three-day frame for an R-rated movie (trailing only the $132.4 million posted by Ryan Reynolds’ comic book tentpole Deadpool).

It‘s success also marks the best box office performance by a film based on one of King’s literary works, easily topping the list — the top 10 of which only includes two films released in the last decade, the other being August’s The Dark Tower, which underperformed with a middling $50.1 million in North America.

Warner Bros.

Where The Dark Tower floundered, It picked up the slack — the latter’s marketing was far more effective than the former’s, with a concrete selling point (clowns are scary) communicating exactly what audiences received when they purchased a ticket. Dark Tower‘s promotional materials promised a muddled action-oriented fantasy without a clear plot, though it was anchored by stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Both films performed very differently with critics as well, with Dark Tower receiving an abysmal 16 percent (average score of 4.1/10) on Rotten Tomatoes, while It impressed with an 85 percent (average score of 7.2/10).

It continues Warner Bros. and New Line’s winning track record with genre entries on scales big and small. The distributors reignited interest in horror titles back in 2013, when its Vera Farmiga/Patrick Wilson project The Conjuring pulled in an unexpected $137.4 million on top of strong critical reviews. A follow-up, The Conjuring 2, would go on to make $102.5 million last year, and two spinoffs, 2014’s Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation, released this August, earned $84.3 million and $100.2 million (and counting) respectively. Other recent genre hits for the studio include 2015’s The Gallows ($22.7 million on a $100,000 budget) and 2016’s Lights Out ($67.3 million on a $5 million budget).


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