While the sequel didn’t match the opening of the 2017 film, it’s still the second-best horror showing of all time; overseas, the R-rated pic launched to $94 million.
Pennywise once again delivered at the box office.
New Line’s R-rated It: Chapter Two opened to $91 million domestically in a needed win for the film industry after a brutal August. And while the sequel didn’t match the record-shattering launch of the first film, it’s still the second-best horror bow of all time and the second-biggest for the month of September behind It, as well as the top bow for an R-rated pic so far this year, not adjusted for inflation.
Overseas, the R-rated pic scared up $94 million from 75 markets for $185 million globally. The only horror pic to start off with more was It.
The follow-up’s performance is a boost for New Line and parent studio Warner Bros. following a tough summer, capped by the box office bombs The Kitchen and Blinded by the Light. The weekend was also a good one for the studio on other fronts, as Warners’ edgy superhero pic The Joker took home top spoils at the Venice International Film Festival on Saturday.
Internationally, It: Chapter Two performed on par with the 2017 title overall, while beating it in 16 markets, including Russia ($8.8 million). Mexico led with $10.2 million, followed by the U.K. ($9.4 million).
Domestically, the film came in 25 percent behind the $123.4 million earned by It over the same weekend in 2017.
Several factors could have contributed to the difference. The sequel currently has a 67 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 86 percent for the original. Audiences were more forgiving in bestowing the pic with a B+ CinemaScore, the same grade that It received, although exit scores on PostTrak were lower.
Another difference: The sequel runs two hours and 49 minutes — 35 minutes longer than the first movie. New Line helped make up for the lengthy running time by booking the film in 4,570 theaters, the widest release ever for the month of September.
“For me, the big headline is that we now have the No. 1 and No. 2 horror openings. We always said this film would get to $85 million or $90 million; we were never going to hit lightning in a bottle again,” says Warners domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. “Andy, the marketing team and New Line did a great job scaring the stuffing out of people.”
It: Chapter Two fell less than expected — 10 percent — from Friday to Saturday, on par with It. Younger moviegoers turned out in force, with 64 percent of ticket buyers between ages 18 and 34, while nearly half of the audience was 25 and younger. Caucasians made up 47 percent of ticket buyers, followed by Hispanics (26 percent), African-Americans (14 percent) and Asians/Other (13 percent), according to PostTrak.
More than 20 percent of domestic grosses came from Imax and large-format screens. Globally, Imax turned in a total of $9 million.
Andy Muschietti returned to direct the conclusion of his adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel. The follow-up — which stars Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa and Bill Hader — features the adult incarnations of the kids who battled the creepy clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) 27 years earlier.
It: Chapter Two, which cost roughly $90 million to produce before marketing, had the weekend to itself in terms of being the only new studio film.
Among holdovers, Millennium and Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen fell to No. 2 in its third outing with $6 million for a domestic cume of $53.5 million.
Universal took the next two spots on the chart with Good Boys, which grossed $5.4 million in its fourth weekend for a domestic tally of $66.9 million and $82.4 million globally.
Disney’s The Lion King remained in the top five in its eighth weekend with $4.2 million domestically. Overseas, it grossed another $13.4 million for a global haul of $1.59 billion.
Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw cleared a major milestone Friday when it topped the $700 million mark globally. For the full weekend, the Universal action pic grossed $3.7 domestically to round out the top five and $15.7 million overseas for a worldwide cume of $719.8 million through Sunday.
Highlights at the specialty box office included Roadside Attractions’ The Peanut Butter Falcon, which cracked the top 10 chart as it expanded into a total of 1,310 theaters, grossing $2.3 million for a domestic total of $12.3 million.
The music-infused documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice debuted in seven theaters, posting one of the best location averages of the weekend ($16,500).