New Line/Warner Bros’ It came on tracking in a very strong way, with predictions akin to a summer blockbuster. However, taking into context the fall marketplace and the time of year, analysts are simmering expectations for its opening frame beginning September 8 to around $50 million on the low end, and on the high end $60M.
For It, males overall are 24% unaided, 75 total awareness, 57% definite and 17% first choice. Females are 26% unaided, 76% total, 50% definite and 18% first choice. Teen males are 24% unaided, 75% total, 66% definite, and 24% first choice.
“It’s not competing against anything on tracking,” said one distribution bean-counter. “That’s why those figures are so high.”
“Anyone can easily make a mistake and predict a $100M-plus opening, but you have to take into account the softer fall marketplace,” said our source.
We’ve mentioned a few times that It would open to $50M-plus (well before any of the rival trades turned it into a headline). However, many have been in the mind-set that this movie will overperform ever since Warner Bros dropped the trailer post-CinemaCon with close to 200M views in its fist 24 hours, smoking Fate Of The Furious. “That indicated New Line had a special film on their hands, that the film struck a cord with audiences.”
It is the second stateside feature by Argentinian director Andres Muschietti, who made a mark four years ago with the horror film Mama, which made close to $147M worldwide off a $15M production cost. Once considered a director for Universal’s Mummy reboot, Muschietti eventually fell out of that project and made his way to It, based on the Stephen King novel and originally adapted as an ABC miniseries back in 1990. King is experiencing a resurge in his material appearing on film and TV (i.e. AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes, Sony/Media Rights Capital’s The Dark Tower) thanks to the cash cow B.O. phenomenon that is lower-budget, high-quality horror.
Warner Bros is cautious about the projections being putting out there for It: no other September live-action release has outstripped $41M at the domestic box office, the last being 2013’s Insidious: Chapter 2 ($40.3M). The all-time September opener is Hotel Transylvania 2, which appealed to a family audience in the latter part of the month with a $48.5M open.
In certain years, the weekend following Labor Day has been a death zone at the box office (think Nicolas Cage’s Bangkok Dangerous at $7.7M in first place), but Warner Bros has shown that with the right movie, audiences will come out — read last year’s Tom Hanks drama Sully ($35.6M) and 2011’s Contagion ($22.4M).
Genre has also popped during the frame following Labor Day with Sony’s The Exorcism Of Emily Rose 12 years ago with a $30M start, and of course, Insidious: Chapter 2.