Pennywise will be handing out balloons in 75 overseas markets as well as the U.S. and Canada this weekend, with It Chapter Two planning a nearly full day-and-date release versus 2017’s staggered rollout for the original.
All in, industry sources are seeing a global debut that could potentially score a worldwide opening record for a horror pic with $200 million+, besting the previous It‘s $189.7M start. This time, however, overseas is expected to make more than domestic — the opposite of the case in September 2017, when It posted the best domestic and September opening of all time with $123.4M.
North America this time in around 4,200 theaters is expected to deliver north of $90M, maybe $100M, and that’s due to the sequel’s 2-hour 49-minute running time (the first one was 2 hours, 15 minutes), and the fact there was a pent-up anticipation for this Stephen King reboot which originally was adapted for TV.
It: Chapter 2 overseas ticket sales should be between $100M-$110M. The first hubs to go are in Asia including Korea and Indonesia on Wednesday. That will be followed by Germany, Italy, Russia, Brazil and Australia among the Thursday majors, with the UK, Spain and Mexico among others on Friday. The stragglers will be France on September 11 and Japan on November 1. The first It did not play in China, and that is not expected to change for the follow-up.
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Pennywise comes back Thursday night in the U.S. and Canada beginning at 5 PM in roughly 3,700 locations. He’ll be playing in the full swath of Imax, Dolby, PLF, 4DX, Dine-in theaters, etc. It posted an all-time high for a horror Thursday night preview stateside with $13.5M; those showings started at 7 PM. Best demos for It: Chapter Two are younger males, followed by younger females, similar to the 2017 pic, with solid interest across the board.
For Fandango, the sequel is their best horror preseller ever, besting the advance ticket sales of It, Us, last year’s Halloween and The Nun. Ditto for Atom Tickets as its also seeing the best presales to date for a horror film, with It: Chapter Two beating its previous genre title-holder Halloween by 3 times. In a recent Atom survey, women said the sequel is the No. 1 pic they want to see this fall. For those polled by Fandango, It: Chapter Two is the No. 1 pic users want to see this fall, towering over Joker, Frozen II, Terminator: Dark Fate and Zombieland: Double Tap.
The best true foreign box office comparison for It: Chapter Two is the previous title. It opened No. 1 in virtually all markets in 2017 and broke records on the first day out in a number of countries.
In like-for-like markets and at today’s rates, the first film bowed to $95M, so a $110M launch on It: Chapter Two would rep about a 15% increase in local currencies, where there has been some fluctuation since (the previous movie in unadjusted dollars did about $105M in the same bucket of markets going this weekend). It went on to a $375M offshore gross. All in, the Andy Muschietti-directed pic made $702.4M.
The first film did best in UK, Germany, France, Mexico and Brazil. Horror indexes in Latin America and Europe, with Southeast Asia likely to provide some extra muscle this time around. The adult cast, which includes Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and James McAvoy, will add to the draw as will the property’s proven attraction from the last movie and the fact international markets haven’t had a major day-and-date title since Hobbs & Shaw debuted six weeks ago. The pic’s longer running time isn’t expected to slow play overseas, which is the opposite attitude of some domestic box office prognosticators.
Some of the It gang has been on the road with a stop in Muschietti’s native Argentina as well as Brazil, the UK and Germany. In London, a premiere was held Monday at The Vaults where an immersive experience kicked off August 31 with nine themed areas. Tickets sold out.
In Hollywood, there’s been a Derry carnival It: Chapter Two experience. Warner Bros had something similar, except it was the haunted house, for the first It.
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