The gargantuan response to its teaser trailer was enough to guarantee Warner Bros.’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s It a sure thing at the box office, and the subsequent publicity stunts, parodies, and minor controversy didn’t hurt, either. Some forecasted $70 million for its opening weekend, others $100 million. Well, it floated above all of those numbers to rake in a staggering $117.2 million, and that’s just in North America. There’s no way that sequel isn’t happening now.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film grossed a total of $179.2 million after pulling in $62 million from 46 markets overseas. THR notes that this is “biggest start ever for a horror film or for a King adaptation,” as well as “the biggest opening ever for the month of September” and “the second-biggest opening for an R-rated film.”
You can process that success in plenty of ways, but its R rating was clearly integral to the film’s success, what with THR noting that 65% of ticket buyers were over the age of 25. This will likely affect not only the way studios approach horror, but also future adaptations of King’s work (and there will be plenty).
Just look at The Dark Tower: With an A-list cast and a PG-13 rating, the film only pulled in $19 million during its opening weekend. It had no major stars at the helm, nor did it need to rely on lame references to the larger King canon to attract audiences. Softening the material is not the key here. The release of Netflix’s thoroughly adult take on King’s Gerald’s Game later this month will likely provide further insight into how studios plan to approach his work in the future.
For all the King analysis you can handle, tune into Consequence of Sound‘s own Stephen King podcast, The Losers’ Club. Tune into last week’s episode, where we reviewed the movie and spoke to director Andy Muschietti and producer Barbara Muschietti. Next week, you can bet we’ll be discussing what this box office means for the future of King and Hollywood.