Two years after rewriting the book on what horror is capable of at the box office, the sequel to the genre's biggest film of all time is here, with possibly the most anticipated movie until December.
Weekend Forecast for September 6-8, 2019
By Reagen Sulewski
September 5, 2019
Once noted as a renaissance of Stephen King adapations, It has proven more to be a bit of a unicorn, albeit a very, very pretty (and scary!) one. With a shock opening weekend of $123 million in the first week of September, the first half of King's novel about a malevolent, murderous clown (but I repeat myself) that's taken on the spirit of something ancient and disturbing had a bit of a cultural moment. That it was successful on the back of a mostly kid-actor cast was all the more stunning, though it was undoubtedly drafting more than a little off Stranger Things mania, which was at full peak.
It Chapter Two moves the setting from the 80s to present day, with a grown up Losers Club (headlined by Bill Hader, who's having a bit of a moment, Christina Hendricks, James McAvoy and Isaiah Mustafa) returning to Derry, Maine, in order to confront and finish off Pennywise for good and/or die trying. Partly anchored by Bill Skarsgard's unsettling performance as the sewer dwelling beast, it was also one of the more visually inventive horror movies in some time, with highly effective camera tricks amping up the horror, and creating dread out of the simple image of a red balloon.
Chapter Two certainly steps up in that regard, with the motif being pushed to its logical extent. The initial trailer was a masterpiece of suspense, focused entirely around Hendrick's interaction with a woman from Derry, who she slowly realizes isn't quite what she seems. it's these moody exercises in suspense, combined with epic scenes - something not normally seen in horror - that's driving this series to ridiculous heights.
In this year of failed sequels, reboots and franchises, the concern has to be whether this is another that fall into the same trap. There's a big difference here, in that this was always intended to be a two part film, coming from a 1,000+ page book with a natural split in time. If you were in for the first half, so the logic goes, you're already bought in for the second half. Reviews aren't quite as good for this edition though that's likely due in part to this not taking anyone by surprise. It's difficult to imagine too many people ditching the series for the finale, though there's always a little bit of attrition. Another massive weekend should be in store, with around $120 million this weekend.
With nothing new from last weekend's slate making an impact, the returning films are even less remarkable than usual, and It Chapter Two could make up as much as three-quarters of the overall box office this weekend. Angel Has Fallen will probably lead the returning films, after making a little under $12 million last weekend, even as enthusiasm wanes rather quickly for Gerard Butler brand of proto-fascistic action series. It should lead the way at $8 million.
R-rated pre-teen comedy Good Boys demonstrated something a little like legs, though a bit of that may have been due to an extra day off last weekend. It's headed for around $80 million domestic, which is quite respectable for a film with no ostensible stars. I'd expect about $7 million this frame.
The Lion King should get one more weekend of relevance with around $5 million, as it pushes its way to 11th all-time, ahead of The Dark Knight. Tenth place is well out of reach, but it makes 8 of 11 for Disney.