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One day after he turned 70 years old (on September 21), author Stephen King saw the latest adaptation of one of his greatest works -- IT -- become the highest-grossing R-rated horror movie in the United States. IT didn't bump off some hack Paranormal Activity movie to claim this crown, either. But posting a domestic tally of $236 million, IT topped The Exorcist (the previous record holder) and is now the top dog in the realm of adult chills and thrills.
There's a caveat, as is usually the case. These are domestic numbers, as reported by Variety, and The Exorcist still has the edge in worldwide ticket sales, thanks in part to two director's cut re-releases over the years. Also, some are making the argument that Andres Muschietti' IT has to be held up in comparison to movies like The Sixth Sense ($293M) and Jaws ($260M) if it's going to be the flat-out main champion in Horror. The Horror genre simply has too many sub-reddits in which movies can live.
But no matter which way you slice it, IT has been a monster hit for Warner Bros., successfully translating Stephen King's eponymous book about young kids facing their individual fears -- and one scary ass clown (Bill Skarsgard) -- to avenge the murder of young Georgie Denbrough. Even though IT has been adapted into a classic TV mini-series, it is a new generation of Horror fans raised on Stranger Things that are dialing into the giddy madness of Andres Muschietti's vision for IT. Word of mouth has been off-the-charts positive on the horror film. The reviews are largely fantastic. And plans are afoot for a follow up film that, we assume, will tell the story of The Losers' Club as adults. But who will they cast?
We're not trying to compare apples to oranges here, but it is worth noting that the other high-profile Stephen King adaptation to hit theaters this year, The Dark Tower, as earned $50 million domestically and $110 million worldwide. Granted, The Dark Tower doesn't have quite the fanbase as IT, and the image of a terrifying clown sells more tickets than Matthew McConaughey, looking like he stepped out of his Lincoln television commercial, staring down Idris Elba. But The Dark Tower also stands as a warning that not EVERY King adaptation is a slam dunk, and the best way to approach an adaptation of his book is to actually adapt the book.
IT will continue to make bank in the coming weeks, as IMAX screens program it and people return to it to get into the Halloween mood. Can it eventually pass Sixth Sense and Jaws to truly top the horror charts? We shall see.