Weekend Box Office: ‘IT’ Is Now The All-Time Highest Grossing Horror Movie, But Can It Top ‘Kingsman’?

Thanks to a number of new releases, there was a lot of activity at this weekend’s box office, which delivered fairly large numbers overall, although it wasn’t great news for everyone. Despite middling reviews (51 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), Kingsman: The Golden Circle finally knocked IT from the top spot, scoring around $40 million. The good news for Fox is that Golden Circle bested the opening weekend of the first Kingsman movie, Secret Service ($36 million), but the bad news is that the movie comes in lower than original expectations for the sequel (the studio had originally hoped for closer to a $50 million weekend). The film, however, doesn’t have to put up massive numbers in the states; the original earned a decent $128 million stateside, but that only represented 31 percent of its $414 million gross worldwide. Nevertheless, with a budget $20 million higher than Secret Service and the additions of Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, and Pedro Pascal, I’m sure the studio had hoped for a better outing.

The popularity of IT probably didn’t help matters. The Stephen King movie fell to number two in its third week, but it didn’t fall hard, dropping down to $29 million. Overall, however, IT has now earned $265 million, making it the highest grossing R-rated horror movie of all time (before inflation is accounted for). It’s only $30 million away from taking the crown away from Sixth Sense for highest rated horror movie of all time for any rating. It’s also easily the best performing Stephen King adaptation (Green Mile’s $136 million is a distant second) and it continues to move up the charts for highest rated R-rated movie of all time in any genre (it currently sits in 6th place, behind The Hangover’s $277 million and within shouting distance of number one, The Passion of the Christ with $370 million). It’s even doing well internationally, where it has put up close to $200 million, so far (and that’s before it has opened in China).

Meanwhile, The Lego Ninjago Movie essentially struck out this weekend, earning a mere $20 million, significantly less than the $69 million earned by The Lego Movie in its opening weekend, and even much less than the $53 million The Lego Batman opened with earlier this year. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for the disappointing outing of Ninjago — mixed reviews, LEGO movie fatigue, or lack of interest in Ninjago — but the third outing has certainly soured the franchise. Most damning, I think, is the fact that it’s a so-so movie; I saw it with a group of kids, none of whom were particularly impressed with it, as the B+ Cinemascore attests (a lousy grade for an animated flick). Ninjago is going to have to leg it out in the coming weeks if it hopes to make good on its $70 million budget.

Numbers four through seven at the box office were all holdovers. Last week’s number two film, American Assassin dropped pretty hard to $6.2 million, and with $26 million, so far, it’s nearing its $33 million production budget (worldwide totals aren’t helping much). Number five this week goes to Home Again, which adds $3.5 million to bring its total to $22 million after three weeks. Darren Aronofsky’s mother! was not able to capitalize on the 1700 think pieces from critics over the last week, as it continues to skid. It fell nearly 60 percent to $3.25 million in its second weekend, and after 10 days stands at only $13 million. It was a risky gamble for Paramount, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to pay off (worldwide grosses aren’t helping this one much, either). Hitman’s Bodyguard, meanwhile, stuck around for another week, adding $1.85 million.

The week’s other new wide release, the horror entry Friend Request, straight-up flopped at the box office this weekend. Even with a small $10 million budget, it’s not going to earn its money back after a $1.8 million opening weekend. It’s a rare misfire for low-budget horror films, but my guess is that it never anticipated just how huge IT would be when it set its release date. IT has also raised audience’s expectation levels for horror films, and Friend Request could not meet those expectations with a lousy 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a weak C+ Cinemascore.

Meanwhile, Rotten Tomatoes could not save Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany’s fantastic Stronger, a complicated relationship drama based on the lives of Jeff Bauman and Erin Hurley in the year after the Boston Marathon bombing. The film scored 95 percent with critics, but only $1.58 million with audiences. Granted, the film only opened in 574 theaters, but it didn’t perform that much better than Battle of the Sexes, which made $500K in only 21 theaters. Stronger is going to need some awards season buzz to generate additional interest. Fortunately, Gyllenhaal delivers an awards-worthy performance.

Finishing out the top ten was Wind River, which added $1.2 million, as it has quietly crossed the $30 million mark. Ben Stiller’s Brad’s Status also earned $1 million this weekend after expanding into 500 theaters.

Next weekend should throw the box office in disarray again. Tom Cruise follows up the massively disappointing The Mummy with American Made, and while critics are loving it, it’s been a while since Cruise sought awards-season acclaim. That movie will open against the remake of Flatliners, the Taye Diggs’ thriller Til Death Do Us Part (and don’t sleep on Taye Diggs thrillers, y’all), as well as the faith-based A Question of Faith. If it expands next weekend, Emma Stone and Steve Carrel’s Battle of the Sexes will probably also make some noise.

(Via Deadline, Box Office Mojo)