In its second weekend at the box office, Stephen King’s It took the top spot, and it wasn’t even close. The shockingly good It is expected to end the weekend with around $60 million. That’s not only a terrific second weekend, it would break a lot of box-office records as an opening weekend. To put that number in perspective, that’s the second best September weekend ever at the box office, behind only the first weekend of It. The second weekend of It would also place it first, all time, for an October opening, ahead of the $55 million that Gravity opened with back in 2013. The second weekend of It is also a better opening weekend than any horror movie all time, ahead of Paranormal Activity 3‘s $52 million in 2011.
Indeed, after only ten days at the box office and $218 million, It is already approaching The Exorcists‘ $232 million box-office record for highest grossing R-rated horror movie of all time, and it has a beat on The Sixth Sense’s $293 million record for highest grossing horror movie ever. It’s also surpassed Get Out for the year’s highest grossing horror movie, and it has entered — after only ten days — the top ten box office hits of the year with a clear shot at entering the top five by next week.
So much for the box-office slump, huh?
Indeed, It has already surpassed the overall gross of last fall’s two highest grossing movies combined (Sully and The Magnificent 7). It’s also well on its way to the highest grossing fall release ever, once it surpasses the $274 million of Gravity. It is officially a box-office juggernaut, and if I’m Entertainment Studios, I might rethink the release of the horror movie Friend Request next weekend, because it’s likely to get steamrolled by the third weekend of It.
The demon clown movie didn’t completely wipe away the rest of the box office this weekend, however. The poorly reviewed American Assassin (36 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) managed to secure second place with a $15.5 million, right in line with expectations for the Michael Keaton thriller. The film received a so-so B+ from Cinemascore, but a large segment of its audience came out for Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien, and those fans gave the movie a more impressive A Cinemascore grade. Who knew O’Brien had such a huge following (besides his 4.7 million Twitter followers)?
Third place this weekend went to the disappointing showing of Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, which fetched only $7.8 million despite featuring Jennifer Lawrence (who can be seen in close-up for much of the film’s running time). The film fared decently on Rotten Tomatoes (68 percent), but that score doesn’t reflect some of the downright brutal reviews of the film (Rex Reed called it the worst movie of the century). It also received a rare F on Cinemascore, which puts it in some interesting company with decent movies like Killing Them Softly and Bug and some terrible ones like The Devil Inside. Typically, terrible Cinemascores do not reflect the movie itself, but expectations viewers had for the movie. Viewers went into Aronofsky’s Mother! expecting a Jennifer Lawrence horror movie and not an obtuse religious allegory, and they graded it accordingly.
While the $7.8 million is a disappointment for a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence (it’s her lowest opening weekend for a wide release, ever), it’s a miracle really that the film managed to earn that much (despite a budget over $30 million). It’s decidedly an art house film that Paramount tried to sneak past mainstream audiences, and while it didn’t really work, nearly $8 million is more than a movie like this would typically gross in its opening weekend. To put it in perspective, it performed twice as well as Darren Aronofsky’s equally inaccessible The Fountain, another $35 million film with an A-list star (Hugh Jackman) that only managed $10 million over its entire run (I expect mother! will end with at least double that, thanks to audience curiosity).
Holdovers took spots four through ten this weekend. Reese Witherspoon’s Home Again finished its second weekend with $5.3 million and $17 million overall, which at the very least puts it over its $15 million budget. Hitman’s Bodyguard finished its 5th weekend with $3.5 million and $70 million overall, making it a modest August hit amidst a month of flops. Wind River continues to quietly collect box-office receipts, adding $2.5 million to bring it up to $30 million. I finally managed to catch the Taylor Sheridan film myself this weekend, and it is quite good, boasting really strong performances from Jeremy Renner an Elizabeth Olsen.
Annabelle: Creation ended its sixth week only half a million dollars away from the $100 million mark, Leap added $2.1 million to push it over $18 million Spider-Man: Homecoming came in with less than $2 million to push it to $330 million, and Dunkirk rounds out the top ten with $1.3 million and $185 million overall.
The only other release of note? Ben Stiller’s mid-life crisis comedy Brad’s Status, which opened in four theaters with a solid $22,000 per screen average.
Next weekend is shaping up to be a competitive one. The horror film Friend Request won’t put much of a scare to It, but either or both movies Kingsman The Golden Circle or The LEGO Ninjago Movie could knock It from its perch atop the top of the box office.