Can ‘It: Chapter 2’s opening rival predecessor and balloon into a $125m+ horror record?
Fall (sorry, Autumn) season kicks off at the Box Office, where the weekly tentpoles and $200m blockbusters are few and far between, having been replaced by awards-hopefuls, festive entertainment, and Halloween horrors. The latter’s incoming this weekend with ‘It: Chapter 2’, the sequel to 2017’s record-breaking Stephen King adaptation. Whether ‘Chapter 2’ can emulate the success is the question at hand, with struggling studio Warner Bros hoping for a performance to leave its so-far dismal 2019 in the past.
So, what’s opening this weekend?
Andy Muschietti’s ‘It: Chapter 2’ opens on Friday in an R-rated record 4,570 cinemas – the 5th largest ever in the U.S, and over 400 more theaters than the 1st. It’s another way in which Warner Bros have expanded on ‘It’ since its release in 2017. There’s the budget, doubled to a meaty $70m to reflect a film confident in its Box Office prowess, and even the length, which, now at close to 3 hours (170 mins), spans even longer than ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’.
Even the film’s plot’s larger. The characters are older and more established, with James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and Isaiah Mustafa stepping into the shoes of Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Martell, Jack Dylan Grazer and others. Bill Skarsgard returns as Pennywise the Clown, who, after 27 years, returns to wreak even havoc on the kids of Derry, in ways more catastrophic and wide-ranging than the 1st.
But will the film’s opening be bigger than ‘It’s record-breaking $123.4m? That’s the pressing issue for Warner Bros, who’ve suffered a calamitous year at the Box Office so far, with heavy bombs in ‘Godzilla 2’, and ‘The LEGO Movie 2’, taking the gloss off the more successful releases in ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ and ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ – both horrors.
Many believe it can and will. Ticket-seller Fandango reports ‘Chapter 2’s advance sales going beyond that of any horror film ever (including its predecessor), offering a glimpse into a rabid fanbase who’ve waited 2 years for the follow-up to the well-received blockbuster. Or any blockbuster; the Box Office hasn’t seen a $100m opener since ‘The Lion King’ in July. It’s seemingly time for a film with mass appeal, and considering the horror genre’s immunity during times of instability for every other genre bar superheroes in cinema, all signs point to a massive opening.
Not necessarily a bigger one, though. As ‘Deadpool 2’ proved, it’s difficult to capture that lightning in a bottle again. While the R-rated ‘Deadpool’ was a new, exciting spin on the popular (if not formulaic) superhero genre, its $132.4m opening couldn’t be matched by ‘Deadpool 2’s $125.5m – although it came mightily close. Similarly, ‘Chapter 2’ may struggle to find the magic again, a point that critics have been quick to mention. The film’s RT score of 68% just doesn’t compare with ‘It’s 86%, nor does its 59 Metacritic score (‘It’ scored 69). We thus forecast a $115m opening, more than enough to be the 2nd biggest for a horror film of all time, and a start that pulls Warner Bros out of the 2019 Box Office Losers Club.
What else is on?
It won’t be a 3rd win in a row for Lionsgate’s ‘Angel Has Fallen’, whose weekend gross falls to $6m for a $50m+ running total. The film remains $4m ahead of ‘London Has Fallen’ (which ended on $62.5m), and $3m ahead of ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ ($75.5m), although ‘It: Chapter 2’s opening will surely close that gap.
|Rank||Last Week’s Rank||Film||STUDIO||Budget||JUMPCUT’s prediction||Weekend drop||Week no.|
|1||New!||It: Chapter 2||Warner Bros||$70m||$115m||–||1|
|2||1||Angel Has Fallen||Lionsgate||$40m||$5.7m||-51.7%||3|
|4||3||The Lion King||Disney||$260m||$4.4m||-36.4%||8|
|5||4||Hobbs & Shaw||Universal||$200m||$3.5m||-45.8%||6|
|7||5||Ready or Not||Fox-Disney||$6m||$3.2m||-45.9%||3|
|8||7||Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark||Lionsgate||$25m||$2.5m||-50.0%||5|
|9||9||The Angry Birds Movie 2||Sony||$65m||$2.4m||-43.4%||4|
|10||10||Once Upon a Time in Hollywood||Sony||$90m||$2.3m||-44.2%||7|