Crazed Clown Cashes Smashes Sept., Genre Records As Stephen King’s ‘It’ Pulls In $123M+ Opening

Updated/Write-thru Sunday 7:29 AM after Saturday 12:10 AM: Well, this movie has certainly pumped up the industry. At what looks to be a $123M to $124M opening early this AM while Warner Bros. is hedging to go against all other studio estimates with $117.1M. Regardless of where it ends up in the early AM, Stephen King’s It has been gathering up the records like a handful of balloons: The best opening day ever for a horror title ($51M), the highest pre-show for a horror film, one in Sept. and for an R-rated movie ($13.5M), the highest three-day opening record weekend for the genre and the second-highest opening for an R-rated pic (behind Deadpool‘s $132.4M), the best September opening for any genre which means the best September opening to date for the studio, and likely more records coming as New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. sorts through all of their stats early this AM.

Here are some more records: It‘s busted through that the studio culled together: the horror film is now the 3rd largest opening of 2017 (behind only Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), largest Imax opening for a movie in Sept. and for a weekend horror movie. (It was on 377 Imax screens domestically), biggest number of locations for a R-rated movie.

Imax domestic 377 screens accounted for $7.2M of the total which is also the company’s best ever September opening weekend in the domestic market.

Warner Bros. noted also that It out-grossed the entire prior industry record gross for a post-Labor Day weekend and lastly, the studio noted that the film was the largest opening weekend for an R-rated movie based on a book (okay, guys). What’s more impressive is that it’s per screen was $28,552 and this film has crossed over to those audiences who are not die-hard horror fans. And the studio did all this without a big star.

“We blew past everyone’s expectations in a big way. This is the first Sunday of football and because of the weather, I think our number is more in the ballpark but we have lots of room to grow,” said Warner Bros. president domestic theatrical distribution Jeffrey Goldstein, who said they were strong everywhere and the Hispanic markets were really dominating.

Gotta give kudos again to Warner Bros. President of Worldwide marketing Blair Rich who oversees promoting New Line’s product and to New Line’s production execs Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter. And the studio has another winner on their hands with a string of hits now with Wonder Woman, Dunkirk and Annabelle: Creation.

With a strong hold from Friday to Saturday, Stephen King’s It was looking to pass $120M yesterday morning as the East Coast ticket sales were strong, just as our tracking experts predicted. Current estimates have the Andy Muschietti-directed horror film floating around $123M to $124M right now, down only 12% from Friday.

Saturday pulled in roughly $45M after Friday night’s $51M (which included that $13.5M preview). The box office for It would be even higher if the Houston and Florida markets weren’t affected by two of this nation’s strongest hurricanes on record.

The state of Florida alone accounts for 6.3% of the nation’s box office receipts and due to Hurricane Irma, it only accounted for 1.88%. As we reported, AMC, Cinemark, Regal and other theaters started closing down in preparation — 100 locations were shuttered on Friday and up to 175 were dark on Saturday.

This box office record breaker from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. experienced a social media surge on Friday and Saturday, surpassing the kind of activity that Marvel and DC superhero franchises regularly enjoy, RelishMix says. YouTube views have grown by over 16.4M to 266.6M and the official It movie Facebook page (which added 6.7K new fans 2-days ago) is now popping six-fold to 41K yesterday and now 1.2M total.

Even It creator’s Stephen King’s FB page added another 100,000 fans over the week up to 5.1M fans, and Stranger Thing’s star Finn Wolfhard’s Instagram page added 37,500 fans up to 1.4M total. Also, Twitter hashtags for IT and ITmovie are now at 94K just in one day.

The other weekend opener Home Again from Open Road is still on course to make $8.6M or so for its debut three-day. More estimates coming in just about seven to eight hours from now. Chart is coming.

Writethru, Saturday AM 7:42 AM, following Friday 11:32 PM post: The studio that gave us Nightmare on Elm Street and The Conjuring horror franchises has created another milestone for the genre with their feature adaptation of Stephen King’s Itwhich is now on course to slot the best opening day ever for an R-rated and horror title with an estimated $51M  (easily smashing Deadpool‘s $47.3M) and the second best R-title three-day between  $103.4M-$108M, behind Deadpool‘s $132.4M. In addition, for any post-summer title opening before November, It‘s weekend is higher than anything released prior in September or October.

With no signs this AM of It slowing down (East Coast sales are brisk) and with good holds expected for tonight, some longtime box office observers are thinking this film could even float up to $120M by the time the screaming stops late Sunday.

Sure, New Line could have launched It during the first weekend of August to give the month the B.O. juice it needed, however, to earn a big three-day like this, it pays to have access to Imax screens, which PostTrak figures are repping 20% of all It admissions this weekend.

However, Warner Bros. had all the Imax venues reserved for Dunkirk. In addition, nothing pairs well with autumn like a nice horror movie, and It is pulling in much more than fanboys, in fact it’s crossing over.

While males over 25 are leading on PostTrak with a 31% turnout, other quads are just as strong with females under 25 (24%), males under 25 (23%), females 25+ (23%) (updated as of 11PM). CinemaScore shows a 51/49 split between females and males with 65% over 25 and 69% of the crowd coming out because it’s a Stephen King horror movie.

Thirty-eight percent bought tickets because of the pic’s source material, while 43% attended because It is a horror movie. Overall CinemaScore is a B+, PostTrak has an 85% overall positive with a strong definite recommend of 64%. True, the Conjuring movies earned A- grades, but that’s unheard of for horror; and a B+ is equally strong for a horror pic like It. 

The movie went into development under Toby Emmerich’s reign at New Line before he was promoted to the post of President and Chief Content officer for Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group. Shoutouts are specifically owed to New Line’s team genre, production execs Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter.

In addition Warner Bros. President of Worldwide marketing Blair Rich, who oversees promoting New Line’s product, designed a campaign that drew intrigue and kept fans in suspense with a few stunts in later weeks that truly popped, specifically the Neibolt haunted house in Hollywood which was open a month prior to release and drew lines that were two to three hours long. It was an immersive two-story replica used in the movie with 35K attending between Aug. 14-Sept. 10 and a wait list that counted 85K.

Meanwhile, it would seem that the romantic comedy is dead as Reese Witherspoon, a former queen of this genre, is seeing Home Again going up in flames with an estimated $8.6M start at 2,940 locations.

Now granted, It is stealing a majority of the female crowd away, but still bad reviews at 32% Rotten and a B CinemaScore does this forty-something single mom tale no good. Home Again‘s three-day is under Witherspoon’s previous disaster Hot Pursuit ($13.9M opening, production cost $35M).

We here this movie made by Black Bicycle Entertainment carries a reported production cost of $15M. IMR International handled foreign. But someone is getting hurt here, and that’s likely Open Road who while not shelling out an MG on the film was responsible for P&A. Open Road is receiving a distribution fee as a percent of overall domestic B.O.

New York Times’ Manohla Dargis speaks truth to power on why Home Again is being condemned: “For her directorial debut, Home Again, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, Nancy Meyers’s daughter, has made a shabby copy of a Nancy Meyers romantic comedy.” In addition, Nancy Meyers’ movies are typically scheduled during the holiday season to capitalize on the mass onslaught of older adults at the B.O. However, just like Witherspoon has pushed boundaries in drama and succeeded, read Fox Searchlight’s Oscar-nominated Wild and HBO’s multi-Emmy nominated Big Little Lies, it’s time for her to break rules again in the romantic comedy realm. Because Judd Apatow has proven that the sub-genre isn’t dead. He had to add some raunch to it with Bridesmaids and Trainwreck, but then there’s the little indie wonder The Big Sick which slept its way to $41.5M after Amazon acquired it out of Sundance for $12M.

One upside for Home Again: It’s not nearly as big a bomb as James L. Brooks’ $120M-failure How Do You Know (which made $30.2M stateside, $48.7M worldwide and also starred Witherspoon). Home Again pulled in older females with 75% females, 88% over 25. Best grade here for the movie was given by those under 18, an A-, but they didn’t show up, repping 3% of the pic’s audience.

UPDATED 12:07 PM: After a screaming preview of $13.5M in previews in 3,500 theaters last night, Stephen King’s It is performing exceptionally well in matinees and may end tonight with a big $47M Friday for New Line and Warner Bros. That would put It on course for a three-day opening record weekend of $100M for this genre which would bring it to the second-highest opening for an R-rated pic (only behind Deadpool‘s $132.4M) and enjoying the biggest weekend opening ever for a horror film by a long shot.

The big question is the state of Florida which is virtually shut down due to impending Hurricane Irma, and that state makes up about 5% to 6% of a picture’s gross so that could impact its three-day. But we were hearing that people were still going to the movies in Central Florida today.

MGM’s Hannibal opened to $58M in 2001 and Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 3 took in $52.5M in its opening weekend in 2011.

Article source: Deadline via Yahoo Entertainment


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