Stephen King's magnum opus It opened for audiences last night, and if the first evening's box office take is any indication of how the film is going to do overall, then we're in for a massive hit. It brought in $13.5 million on its opening night, which sets multiple records for Thursday night openings, including making it the highest grossing preview night for a release in September, as well as the highest grossing opening for an R-rated movie, beating Deadpool by nearly a full million dollars.
There seem to always be concerns about R-rated movies simply because the rating, by its very nature, reduces the potential audience to some degree. However, as Deadpool proved before, and it seems that It will be re-enforcing this weekend according to Variety, if the material is popular enough the fans will come out to see it.
The fact that it's starting out September with a large early total also shows that it really doesn't matter when movies come out anymore. The summer movie season has come to a close, but August was so slow that people are starving for a good movie, and It appears to fit the bill.
Of course, with preview numbers that rival two of the biggest movies of the year, one begins to wonder if the estimates for how It will do this weekend might be much lower than the actual result. It's possible that the Thursday crowd was made up by the seriously die hard fans who didn't want to wait a day to see the film, and thus the early numbers have been somewhat inflated. Regardless, there's a good chance It will become one of the highest grossing horror movies ever made.
This is good news for the filmmakers as well, considering that a second It movie has been waiting in the wings hoping to get this sort of response. The wheels have already begun to turn on the second part of the story which will pick up the action 27 years after this movie, with all of our lead characters as adults, having returned to face the evil once again. With the first film not just doing well out of the gate, but setting records, the sequel is now a virtual guarantee.
Come Sunday, we'll have our first estimates of how It did over the weekend. From there, the test will be staying power. There are a few movies that will likely be trying to take the top spot away from It in the coming weeks, including Kingsman: The Golden Circle among others.