The House That Freddy Built is now counting its Pennywises, as It—co-produced by New Line Cinema, Brett Ratner’s Ratpac Entertainment, and Warner Bros.—easily shot to the top of the domestic box-office charts with a $123 million opening weekend. That’s a new record for a horror movie, more than doubling previous champion Paranormal Activity 3's $52.6 opening weekend in 2011. It’s also the biggest September opening of all time, the biggest opening weekend for a Stephen King adaptation, and the second-biggest R-rated opening of all time after Deadpool.
It’s widely predicted big opening weekend could be a game changer for the horror genre, inspiring studio executives to start treating hard-R horror movies as blockbuster tentpoles instead of just quick ‘n’ dirty money makers. The return on investment is certainly there: Variety estimates It’s budget at a relatively paltry $35 million. That doesn’t include Warner Bros.’ aggressive, presumably expensive marketing campaign for the film, but even so, once overseas box office is taken into account It could clear $100 million in its first week.
For some perspective, It made more than 13 times the box-office take of this week’s No. 2 movie, second-generation Meyers rom-com Home Again, which cruised into second at $9 million. That was also the week’s only other wide release, allowing the surprisingly resilient The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Annabelle: Creation—written by one of It’s screenwriters, Gary Dauberman—and Tayler Sheridan’s Hell Or High Water follow-up Wind River to round out the top five. Further down the charts, it seems that audiences forgot to go see Charlie Sheen’s 9/11, which opened to a dismal per-theater average of $284. The similarly poorly reviewed J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel In The Rye fared somewhat better, pulling in an average of $11,070 on each of its four screens.