Why IT Was So Successful, According To Stephen King

Pennywise in IT movie

It's not exaggerating to say that Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors of our time. Over the last five decades, the man has delivered numerous popular stories, horror and otherwise, and many of them have been adapted as movies and/or television. 2017 was an especially good year for King adaptations, but the biggest success of this bunch was unquestionably Andres Muschietti's IT, which not only earned positive critical reception, but also collected nearly $700 million worldwide. When asked why he thought the IT movie performed so well, King attributed its success to people still remembering the IT TV miniseries that came out over 25 years ago so fondly. In King's words:

I think one of the things that really happened was that 1990 miniseries. A whole generation of kids between the ages of 8 and 14 were scared shitless by Tim Curry and when the new one came out it was a chance to revisit that particular experience in their childhood. Then there was this weird viral bulge in stories about creepy clowns. That was in the press all over the place. So it was a number of different things. It was the right movie at the right time.

The IT novel had already had already been out for four years before the TV miniseries aired, but for many people, watching Tim Curry's Pennywise antagonizing the young members of the Losers Club on the small screen was their first time experiencing this terrifying story. As King mentioned, a lot of kids tuned into the miniseries, so now that they're adults, they could watch the first half of IT unfold on the big screen under someone else's creative vision. And then there was the creepy clown epidemic that hit the United States and other countries in October 2016, almost a whole year before IT was released. These sightings weren't the sneaky IT promotional marketing like some may have suspected, but they nonetheless may have helped drum up interest in seeing Bill Skarsgard's version of Pennywise.

During Stephen King's interview with EW, the idea was also brought up of how the 1980s, nostalgia-filled Stranger Things might have contributed to so many people checked out IT. King acknowledged that the Netflix series could have played a role, saying:

I think that Stranger Things might've had something to do with it, but that's kind of an incestuous thing because so much of Stranger Things reminds me of stuff that I've written. But I think that played a part. Obviously the idea of a bunch of kids fighting a supernatural terror just sort of appealed to people, and they saw a chance to root for the good guys, which doesn't always happen in horror movies.

Clearly there were a lot of different, well-timed factors that played into IT being one of the most successful movies of 2017, and for those of you who enjoyed the movie, you won't have to wait to return to Pennywise's stomping grounds. The second portion of Stephen King's novel will be adapted in IT: Chapter 2, showing the now-adult main characters returning to Derry 30 years later to defeat the shapeshifting entity once and for all.

IT is now available for purchase on Digital HD, and the Blu-ray/DVD copies hit shelves on January 9. IT: Chapter 2 will be released in theaters on September 9, 2019, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on the sequel's development, and scan through our 2018 premiere guide to see what movies are coming out over the next year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.