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).
‘I’m not one to go and watch horror movies.”
So says Auckland-born-and-raised actor Jay Ryan who, ironically, is about to appear in his first horror film, and a terrifying one at that.
Yet it was the appeal of working alongside Hollywood A-listers Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader that lured the self-confessed scaredy-cat to endure the relentless horrors of Pennywise the Clown in It Chapter Two.
Adapted from Stephen King’s bestselling horror classic, fanfare for the second instalment in director Andy Muschietti’s 2017 critically acclaimed remake has been building since the spine-chilling trailers were unveiled.
Picking up 27 years after the events of the first film, It Chapter Two finds Derry’s Loser Club clan reunite as adults in their childhood town when the menacing clown, again played by the talented and versatile Bill Skarsgard, resurfaces.
“What a world to be entering into with a Stephen King 1400-page novel,” Ryan quips when asked about making his foray into horror.
“I was a fan of the first film as well, and I had no idea that I’d be playing the adult version in a couple of years. But to be paired up alongside Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, who I’m a huge fan of, it’s been quite an experience.”
Much like the first film, the second instalment carries elements of comedy and drama amid the trademark “jump scare” scenes, which the 37-year-old says helped put him at ease.
“It was really interesting to work on that film because it kind of opened up my mind to what a horror movie could be,” Ryan says.
“It’s not just all about jump scares and Andy Muschietti who directed the film is very much into character development and, surprisingly, this chapter of the film has a huge emotional arc between these seven characters, or Losers.
“So it didn’t always feel like we were filming a horror movie. There were moments that were very scary but a lot of the time it was about the relationship between these seven adults who were coming back to collectively remember what happened as kids and take down this evil entity.
“It was definitely a surprise for me to work on a horror movie, and I’d happily go back and do another one.”
Ryan portrays a grown-up Ben Hanscom, the formerly chubby and shy boy who was bullied for his weight. On returning to Derry close to three decades later he is noticeably slimmer and has built a successful career as an architect.
Ben is among six others in the Loser Club — including Beverly (Chastain), Bill (McAvoy), Eddie (James Ransone) and Stan (Andy Bean) — who left town but had all but forgotten their pledge to reunite should Pennywise return.
That moment comes in Chapter Two when they receive a worrying call from Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) — the only member of the group who remained in Derry — who confirms their worst fears.
Ryan lauded Skarsgard’s brilliantly haunting rendition of Pennywise but admits to keeping his distance while the 29-year-old Swedish actor was in character.
“When he’s in that make-up, he’s a very scary guy,” Ryan recalls.
“There were times where, even trying to have a conversation with him in between takes, is very unnerving.
“At the beginning I didn’t like it so much, so I just left it until cameras were rolling to interact with him in that form.
“But he’s really amazing in his physical performance and the way he uses his voice to create Pennywise. He’s from the Skarsgard family, they’re chameleons in their character portrayals and Bill is one of those guys.”
Ryan was humbled to work alongside Oscar nominee Chastain and McAvoy, who he says “took me under their wing”.
“They’re veterans and so experienced in their game, and I was extremely nervous going in,” he says. “I thought it was almost impossible for me to be cast when I saw the line-up of actors headlining the film.
“Working with them I’ve learnt a lot. They treated me as an equal from day one and you can see why they’re so successful.”
He adds the film, bar a few heart-racing scares and Pennywise’s terrifying appearance, provides plenty of comic relief that will even be enjoyed by people who are not horror fans.
“With Stephen King’s work, you have a huge story and characters to mine from already so there’s an excess of relationships and story there,” he says.
“I guess maybe horror has had a bit of a bad rap in terms of people thinking it’s flimsy cardboard sets and scary masks.
“But this is a huge entity of a story and I think people who aren’t horror fans or, like me, don’t want to go to the cinema to be freaked out, I think they’ll really enjoy this movie because you’ll get a few scares in there absolutely, but you’re going to be with the story and with the character.”
IT Chapter Two is in cinemas September 6.
Pennywise is back.
The highly anticipated horror sequel It: Chapter Two unveiled its first look at CinemaCon on Tuesday. A follow-up to 2017’s box office smash based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, the sequel follows “The Losers Club” 27 years after the events of the first film.
Set in the present day, the club reunites in accordance with their blood oath to fight the evil clown Pennywise a second time. Older versions of the kids from the 1980s-set first film will be portrayed by the likes of James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain in this sequel, though the younger versions will also appear in memory and flashback sequences.
Director Andy Muschietti, who is returning after overseeing the first film, took the stage accompanied by Pennywise’s signature red balloons to begin the proceedings. The majority of the cast, both the younger members of The Losers Club and their adult counterparts, were on-hand to unveil the new footage and first look at the sequel. Only Jaeden Martell was missing, and McAvoy, Martell’s adult counterpart onscreen, joked, “He’s too talented and he threatens me, so I made him disappear.”
Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) who plays the younger version of Richie told the crowd he lobbied for Bill Hader to play the adult version of his character. He strove to make “Richie as funny as he could be because that’s the job in the book.” Hader joked that Wolfhard landed him the gig, and Wolfhard said he wanted Hader to play grown-up Richie because of his renowned comedy skills. “I was like, well, Richie’s funny to himself,” said Wolfhard, and Hader retorted, “Yeah, Richie thinks he’s funny. It’s like, who’s an a–hole who thinks he’s funny? Who laughs at his own jokes a lot?”
The first footage heavily featured Jessica Chastain, who plays the adult version of Beverly Marsh, including shots of her visiting her childhood home and encountering Pennywise. It was mostly quick-cut footage featuring the kids, their adult counterparts, Pennywise, and those terrifying red balloons. While the footage was brief, the overarching sense was that the first look at the sequel lived up to its frightening predecessor with many describing it as “bloody” and “scary.” One person even noted “adult diapers needed for this film!” See below for a series of reactions to the footage.
The sequel is also an adaptation of King’s 1,000 plus page novel. The two films together make up the entirety of the novel, and it was always the filmmaker’s intention to divide the story into two distinct parts.
The film debuts Sept. 6.
Actor Jay Ryan makes a welcome return to Aussie screens with a gritty role in Foxtel’s ‘Fighting Season’
Jay Ryan was a bright-eyed, bushy- tailed young actor when he first shot to fame on screens in Australia, playing Jack Scully on Neighbours way back in 2002.
“It feels like a lifetime ago,” the 37-year-old Kiwi star tells WHO. “But I do have very fond memories of that time, because it was the first time I had left New Zealand. I had a job and I was moving out into the world, and moving countries – I’m still very good friends with a bunch of people from that cast and crew, like Carla Bonner [Steph Scully], who is a good friend of mine still, and Shane Connor, who played my father.”
Fast-forward more than a decade and Ryan is now a big deal in Hollywood. He’s had a string of high-profile TV gigs and was recently cast in the lead role of the adult Ben Hanscom in the second installment of the rebooted Stephen King classic It, filming now in Toronto.
He’ll also soon be seen in Foxtel’s new drama Fighting Season, playing a returned army sergeant suffering PTSD.
The role couldn’t be more different to the character he played on the Aussie soap all those years ago.
“But it was such a great opportunity for me, Neighbours,” he concedes.
“I still get people in the States saying, ‘Oh, you were on Neighbours!’ It’s a calling card, and a familiar name they can relate to.”
Over the past decade-and-a-half, Ryan has spent the majority of his time in Los Angeles and Toronto, where several of his TV projects (Beauty and the Beast and Mary Kills People) were filmed.
He tries to make it back to New Zealand as often as he can, but thankfully, when required to travel for a role, his partner, Kiwi writer-director Dianna Fuemana, and daughter, Eve (born in 2013), have been able to accompany him.
“We always travel together – we are a bit of a mini-circus,” he explains. “We are a unit.
“It’s tough. But [it’s something] I related to with Fighting Season; that whole thing of the parents, soldiers, having to be away from their children, for, like, six months plus – and how that affects the kids, and how families have to deal with that.
“You kind of have to deal with that in the entertainment world as well, where we are always up, and out, and moving to a new place, or a new city, for another time.
“It’s tough, but I have the luxury of being able to bring my family with me, so we’re very lucky in that way.”
In Fighting Season, Ryan plays a man who returns home from the Middle East after the death of his close friend and the captain of their platoon, Ted Nordenfelt, played by Ewen Leslie. He struggles to process the guilt and the grief, and is exhibiting signs of PTSD. “It’s a sensitive subject, and I really wanted to talk to the guys and girls on the ground who had experienced [that type of thing] first-hand,” says Ryan, of his preparation for the role.
“I spoke to as many young soldiers, and soldiers that had young families, as I could. I read a little bit, but
I didn’t really want to go down the path of reading facts and figures about PTSD. For me, from speaking to some of these guys, it’s a very individual experience. So I wanted to, I guess, layer as much as I could in my own performance from what I’d discussed with these guys one-on-one.”
Fighting Season is a powerful show that attempts to accurately portray the experiences of those returning from combat, something that drew Ryan to the role. “It was the opportunity
to delve into what it’s like to be a modern ANZAC soldier,” he explains. “We don’t often see our soldiers represented in any real way, as they used to be. When they come back from war, they have to assimilate back into everyday life. And it’s kind of, the notion of how they do that? And how do they cope with that? Also the idea of bringing awareness of what our soldiers are going through.”
It’s a challenging role, but Ryan says he has learnt over the years the importance of leaving his work at work. “My family is supportive of what I do – they will tell me pretty quickly if I am being an arsehole, so it doesn’t really spill over at home.”
Fighting Season was filmed over a year ago, and Ryan admits he’s excited local audiences can finally see what they’ve been working on.
“I was allowed to watch a few episodes the other day, and it was wonderful,” Ryan says.
“I am really excited to know that it’s about to come out, and for people to see it. It’s a really important series.”
The idea for Foxtel’s sizzling new drama series, Fighting Season emerged in a crowded US airport lounge.
Over a loud speaker came a call for military personnel to board their planes first, a simple nod to their service and a subtle thanks from a respectful nation.
As the show’s producer, Kylie du Fresne — along with her Goalpost Pictures producing partner Rosemary Blight — noted it was a shocking reminder that “in Australia, our troops are completely invisible.”
“At the same time we were seeing newspaper and magazine articles about PTSD in Australian
soldiers and we started thinking that this was really interesting subject matter that hadn’t yet been explored on Australian television,” du Fresne said.
Until now, with the six-part series — to premiere on Foxtel’s showcase channel at 8.30pm, October 28 — set to spark a national conversation about the shocking realities of our longest war in Afghanistan and the toll it takes on those serving and their families.
Starring Jay Ryan, Ewen Leslie and an impressive cast of new talent, including George Pullar and Julian Maroun, it tracks the fallout for a returned army unit, after a sortie goes fatally wrong — with the subtitle: “you don’t stop fighting just because you’re home.”
Ryan, who researched the impact of PTSD for his first major US role, in Beauty And The Beast, plays Sergeant ‘Speedo’ Collins who tries to bury his own demons with his unit commander, killed under mysterious circumstances.
His wife and young children are struggling to cope with the angry man who has come home to them, and the damaging, violent impact he is having on their lives.
As lead director Kate Woods points out: “we send these young men to war and teach them to kill and when they do, and it becomes part of their life, how do they assimilate that into themselves as human beings when they come back home? And what responsibility does the Armed Forces have for that?”
The series’ writer, Blake Ayshford was born into an air force family and welcomed the opportunity to explore some of the authentic issues being tackled by the limited series.
“We tried to deal honestly with that situation — not all people who return from war suffer from PTSD, but for those that do, it can still be a source of great shame for the soldiers themselves.”
Legacy Australia chief executive, Scott Warr welcomed the series as a way to continue raising awareness about the issues facing today’s military family and the battles personnel face after their time in service.
“It [PTSD] doesn’t affect every veteran that leaves service, but the key thing is those it does impact it does so significantly … not just on the veteran but those around them. We’re talking being disengaged from the family, to being moody, being different to what he or she was like before they went [to war] … through the whole continuum up and including, unfortunately the veterans not being able to cope with it and sadly taking their own lives.”
Warr said mental health resources and support, whether via Legacy or the Department of Veterans Affairs, had improved greatly, but broader understanding in the community about these issues was essential.
“Anything that can keep raising these questions [because] we haven’t got it all right yet. We’re still getting veterans who kill themselves and at Legacy we see the results of that. Unfortunately, the contemporary families and helping young widows are probably the only growing part of our business.”
* Fighting Season will premiere 8.30pm, October 28 on Foxtel’s showcase.
Lots going on here at Jay Ryan Web. The site can now be located at Jay-Ryan.org as well as Jay-Ryan.net. We also have a new Twitter so be sure you are following us there. The old one has a notice to follow the new one as the old one will no longer be updated.
I’ve started to merge the missing content and photos of Jay-Ryan.org with Jay-Ryan.net, so expect lots of updates in the coming weeks. Check out the first batch of updates below.
World Screen Pre-MIPTV Edition
Sky Vision E-Catalogue
The Packer: Poster/Art
The Packer: On the Set
The Packer: Stills
Unknown Theatre Production #01
Unknown Theatre Production #02
You Wish!: Screencaps – replacements
The Tribe: 4×38 – Screencaps
The Tribe: 4×39 – Screencaps
2012 San Diego Comic Con – additions
Producing Schnipples & Tuffy: Behind the Scenes / On the Set