If anyone was thinking the box office had gotten super listless over the past month, well, your prayers for more lively box office has been answered by way of a creepy clown. It just shattered not just box office records but all preconceived notions of what horror movies and September movies can do at the box office. Grossing $117 million over its first three days alone, It garnered the best ever opening weekend for an R-rated horror movie (beating out Paranormal Activity 3, the previous record holder, by $66 million), the best opening weekend for a horror movie, the highest-grossing September opening weekend in history (beating out previous record-holder Hotel Transylvania 2’s $48 million bow by $69 million) and becoming the fourth biggest opening weekend of 2017, only behind Beauty And The Beast, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and narrowly Spider-Man: Homecoming. Oh, and it beat out the $20.6 million bow of 1408 to have the best opening weekend ever for a Stephen King adaptation.
How did Pennywise manage to conjure up such massive grosses? Well, It is a hugely popular book and the character of Pennywise is iconic, but despite existing for decades in the public consciousness as the de facto depiction of creepy clowns, It has never gotten itself a proper theatrically released movie. This meant the property was akin to when Spider-Man or Wonder Woman got their very first live-action movies, it became a once-in-a-lifetime event. The incredible marketing, strong reviews and appealing to 1980’s nostalgia also didn’t hurt things. Considering how well It held throughout the weekend, I’m not gonna be shocked if this one ends up clearing $300 million domestically, which would be an incredible feat for a movie that cost just $35 million to make.
In second place was that rare creature, the brand new American romantic-comedy. Home Again, starring Reese Witherspoon, got off to a middling start of $9 million. Not awful but way down from the biggest opening weekends for Reese Witherspoon (at least it was ahead of the $7.4 million bow of her big 2010 mega-money loser How Do You Know) and also means it’s yet another major release from Open Road Films to bow in over 2,500 theaters and yet still open under $10 million (the company hasn’t released a movie that’s debuted to over $10 million since Nightcrawler in October 2014). Blame that on a more generic marketing campaign that was light on concrete plot details and big laughs. This one will probably end its domestic gross in between $20 and $25 million.
And now for the holdovers. The Hitman’s Bodyguard went down 54%, a bigger post-Labor Day weekend drop than either Expendables sequel, to gross another $4.8 million for a $64.8 million domestic gross. Shockingly, Annabelle: Creation didn’t plummet in the face of fellow New Line Cinema horror movie It, instead Annabelle dropped just 46% to gross another $4 million. This horror prequel’s now grossed $96.2 million and is now guaranteed to become only the twelfth movie of Summer 2017 to gross over $100 million domestically. Meanwhile, sleeper hit Wind River went down 48% to gross an additional $3.2 million, giving it a $25 million domestic cume that is only $2 million behind the $27 million Hell Or High Water collected in its entire domestic run. Also going down 48% this weekend was Leap!, which grossed another $2.5 million for a domestic gross of $15.8 million. Will this one be able to cross $20 million domestically? It’s a total crapshoot at this point.
I’m sounding like a broken record at this point, I know, but once again Spider-Man: Homecoming had the smallest weekend-to-weekend decline in the top twelve as it went down 45% to gross another $2 million for a $327.7 million domestic gross. Experiencing its first ever harsh weekend-to-weekend drop was Dunkirk, which went down 55% to gross another $1.9 million for a fantastic $183.1 million domestic cume. Logan Lucky also fell hard after Labor Day weekend, going down 58% to gross another $1.8 million for an underwhelming $25.2 million domestic cume. Rounding out the top ten was The Emoji Movie, which grossed another $1 million, a 57% drop from last weekend, for a domestic gross of $82.5 million.
Not too much to talk about in the limited release sector this weekend, surprisingly. Tulip Fever plummeted 75% to gross only $285,300 this weekend for a domestic gross of only $1.9 million.
No official grosses are in yet for 9/11, the new Charlie Sheen headlined drama that bowed in 425 theaters this weekend. Closest I can find is a projection for its box office for the weekend from Deadline that said it was on track to make $150,000 this weekend. There are also no grosses being reported yet for newbie indie releases Rebel In The Rye and Poster Boys.
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $149.3 million, by far the biggest weekend ever in September and ahead of any other comparable weekend for this time of the year. What a nice contrast from the last few weeks when Hollywood released nothing and audiences, for some reason, didn’t show up.