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IT tops US box office with record $117.2 million


Story by Jack Foley

THE new horror adaptation of Stephen King’s IT has topped the US box office with a record-breaking $117.2 million, far surpassing expectations.

The film, which follows a group of misfit kids in the 1980s who battle the demonic Pennywise the Dancing Clown, served up a well needed boost to the otherwise beleaguered US box office with the biggest start ever for a horror film or for a King adaptation.

But that was only one of several records the film broke. It’s also the biggest opening ever for the month of September, as well as the third or fourth biggest of the year so far.

Its Friday take alone was bigger than the previous September crown holder, Hotel Transylvania 2, which pulled in $48.5 million for the three days.

IT‘s massive Friday haul of $51 million almost matched the opening weekend of Paranormal Activity 3 ($52.6 million), which was the previous record-holder for top horror opening.

It also nabbed the biggest Friday ever for an R-rated title, beating Deadpool‘s $47 million – although in true Deadpool style, the disfigured superhero went on to open to $132.4 million.

Directed by Argentine filmmaker Andy Muschietti (who previously helmed the horror hit Mama), IT was only projected to open in the $65 million-$70 million, which would still have been a record. In a summer of box office disappointment, this marks a substantial hit. Needless to say, a sequel is already in development.

Elsewhere, the weekend’s other new release, the romantic comedy Home Again, starring Reese Witherspoon, debuted in second spot with an estimated $8.6 million. The film, was written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer with her mother, filmmaker Nancy Meyers, producing.

That meant that former box office champ The Hitman’s Bodyguard fell to No. 3 after topping the box office for the past three weekends. The action comedy, starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, took in $4.9 million for a US total of $64.8 million.

Another horror title, Annabelle: Creation, came in fourth despite competition from IT, earning an estimated $4 million for a US total in excess of $96 million.

And Taylor Sheridan’s superior thriller Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, rounded out the top 5 with an estimated $2 million for a US tally of $25 million.

At the specialty box office, 9/11, the new drama starring Charlie Sheen, bombed with an estimated $162,540 from 400 cinemas. The film attracted criticism from the outset following the casting of Sheen.

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