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Bill Hader in IT Chapter Two

The first chapter of IT became one of the most successful horror movies ever made at both the domestic and international box office. That success led to the sequel being green lit, with obvious expectations that such success could be replicated. While, initially it looked like that's exactly what would happen, some new box office projections for IT Chapter Two make it look like the film might not quite live up to the previous installment.

Things certainly aren't looking bad for IT Chapter Two, as new projections have the movie hitting a domestic box office number of $85-$90 million this weekend. That's certainly not a bad number by any stretch. Not only will it easily win this weekend's box office, but $85 million is better than any movie has done domestically since The Lion King opened in mid-July.

Having said that, earlier estimates for IT Chapter Two were pegging the movie at between $110-$150 million, so we've seen a drop since then. The original IT opened to $123 million which was a record for a horror movie opening. While it looked like Chapter Two had a shot at setting a new record, it now looks like it may come up short.

Having said that IT Chapter Two is likely to still have the second biggest horror opening of all-time. Variety points out that spot on the list currently belongs to last year's Halloween which opened to $74 million, so even if IT Chapter Two hits the low end of the current projections, it will still do better than that.

Sequels are a fickle business. While they frequently do well at the box office, sometimes they'll blow the box office of the original film out of the water, and sometimes they'll fail to live up to what the first movie did. IT Chapter Two is certainly looking like it's going to be a successful project, just simply not the genre-altering movie that the first one was.

These numbers fall in line largely with the critical response as well, which means one has to wonder if the reviews are part of the reason Chapter Two may not do as well. Did the reviews dampen excitement for the movie? The general consensus among reviewers is that IT Chapter Two is a good movie, one that fans of the first film will want to see, but that the movie isn't quite as good as the first part.

Wherever IT Chapter Two's box office ends up, the pair of movies that make up the complete story will likely be one of the most successful horror franchises ever. It's the sort of success that usually makes studios not want to stop at two movies. The good news, however, is that it doesn't sound like anybody is necessarily planning to shoehorn in another story just for the box office.

IT Chapter Two hits theaters tonight.