Andy Muschietti’s 2017 horror film IT is the biggest box office success the genre has ever seen, and naturally expectations are high that the sequel can scare up similar numbers. Audiences will flock to theaters this weekend to witness the end of IT, but the sequel’s run is just beginning, and we now know how much IT Chapter Two made on opening night.
IT Chapter Two opened in theaters on Thursday night with preview screenings at 3,700 theaters beginning at 5 p.m. Those preview showings scared up a $10.5 million opening night for the coulrophobia-fueled horror pic, according to Deadline. That $10.5 million preview night is the second biggest ever for both a horror movie and a September release, trailing only the first IT, which made $13.5 million in 2017.
This $10.5 million opening night is right in line with where tracking had the film pegged, so Chapter Two is performing as expected in that regard. There are some important distinctions between IT and IT Chapter Two’s opening nights though beyond the $3 million difference.
IT Chapter Two had the benefit of preview showings that began at 5 p.m. versus its predecessor’s 7 p.m. and it screened in about 200 more theaters as well. However, it was also over half an hour longer, which could be a detractor for some moviegoers on a weeknight.
IT Chapter Two expands wide today and is playing in 4,570 theaters, making the Stephen King adaptation the widest September release ever, surpassing the 4,131 theaters Smallfoot played in last year. And after that great start last night, IT Chapter Two is looking like it could come in at the high end of its most recent tracking.
The return of the Losers’ Club is looking at an opening day (which includes Thursday night previews) of $44 million, which would be the second-best performance for a horror film and a September release behind its predecessor’s $50.4 million.
IT Chapter Two is now expected to deliver $100-$102 million in its opening weekend, kicking off the fall season at the box office and showing that September is no longer a dump month. If IT Chapter Two finishes the weekend in that range, it will have the second-best horror opening ever and the second best opening ever in the month of September.
Ahead of it is, of course, IT, which opened to $123.4 million in 2017. When it comes to matters of box office, IT Chapter Two is indeed, number two. The sequel will also likely find itself in the top five all-time for R-rated film openings. IT Chapter Two should land at number four, behind its predecessor and the two Deadpool films.
IT Chapter Two will not benefit from quite the critical acclaim that the first film did, as the response has been far more muted with the film carrying a 66% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes as opposed to IT’s 86%. That’s a big gap, but it’s still fresh, and according to Deadline, the exit surveys opening night were nearly as positive as the first film. Opening night audiences are naturally the most enthusiastic, but still, that could portend solid word of mouth.