Stephen King’s ‘IT’ Dominates Box Office Weekend At $51M, Tops Opening Day Record For R-Rated Movies

Stephen King's "It" dominates box office during opening weekend

IT just proved that sewer-dwelling evil clowns make the scariest stories — and — biggest blockbusters. The Stephen King adaptation is currently smashing box office records, raking $13 million during its Thursday night preview and $51 million on its opening day last Friday, Sept. 8.

According to Forbes, IT is the “Beauty and the Beast of horror movies.” Its $51 million opening sales have just broken records of other noteworthy flicks. Before Friday, the highest-opening non-sequel horror movie was 2013’s The Conjuring($41 million). IT also now holds the record as the highest-opening R-rated movie, zooming past Deadpool‘s $46 million in 2016.

Additionally, IT is now the most successful Stephen King adaptation. The thriller is now, quite easily, on its way to reaching the $100 million opening weekend mark. Certainly not bad for a movie with a $35 million budget.

Produced by New Line Cinema and directed by Andy Muschietti, IT is the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s widely acclaimed 1986 novel of the same title. The novel was previously made into a miniseries during the 1990s. The story revolves around seven children who are terrorized by Pennywise, an evil clown one of them first encounters under the sewers. The kids group together to defeat their town’s creepy villain, realizing that they also have to battle their own personal demons in the process.

The movie is not only breaking box office records, but it’s also receiving a lot of good reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 90 percent audience score and 88 percent freshness rating.

“This new It has more on its mind, and gives more body and voice to King’s ideas of childhood anxieties and the corrosive power of fear,” Emily Yoshida of New York Magazine/Vulture wrote.

While some noted that New Line Cinema’s IT is less spooky than expected, critics agreed that the movie deals with something far deeper and more important than scare tactics.

IT is replete with ‘jump scares’ and visual/body horror. However, the film shines when focused on the children’s relationships with one another, their mutual distrust of authority, and their pact to fight back.”

Swedish actor Bill Skarsgard plays Pennywise the Clown, drawing raves for the role. According to The Guardian, Skarsgard’s portrayal of the killer clown is “a revelation.”

“There may be something of Heath Ledger’s Joker, and a Depression-era New Yoik [sic] gangsterism to Skarsgard’s vowels, but his ability to go from quiet, leering menace to nightmarish attack mode in a split second is a big part of the appeal.”

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown

Meanwhile, an IT sequel is already in the works, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The movie’s ending seems to confirm this. At the end of the movie, a title card flashes that reads: “IT: Chapter One.” This is an obvious hint that a second chapter is indeed coming. Also, there’s a tiny post-credits tease that tells viewers this isn’t the last time they’ll be seeing Pennywise the Clown.

[Featured Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]