Mother! Flails and Reminds of Ugly Summer; It Dominates Again
By John Hamann
September 17, 2017
Anybody else still coming to terms with the $123.4 million pulled in by It last weekend? By an R-rated horror flick in September?
Despite all the contradictions, we weren’t dreaming. It pulled in $6.3 million more than was estimated last weekend ($117.2 million), moving it past Shrek the Third and Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 to become the 27th biggest opener of all time. The misguided estimate wasn’t probably all that wrong; it likely just didn’t anticipate the massive swell of good word-of-mouth, which made Sunday play more like a mini-Saturday. Reality should come this weekend, right? Remember Jason Voorhees and the terrifying 80% fall for the rehash of Friday the 13th in its second weekend? The bigger they come the harder they fall… right?
Well, I think we need to park our horror movie biases this weekend, as the clown appears to be staying in charge while becoming Halloween’s favorite costume by a country mile (if you don’t like clowns, I would stay home on Halloween, really). So with summer shaken off with a blockbuster horror release, the new, hot film of the weekend is – another horror movie? Jennifer Lawrence returns to her beau Darren Aronofsky in Mother!, which doesn’t look like quite as much of a straight ahead scare fest as It. Lastly, Lionsgate opens American Assassin, a new vehicle for Michael Keaton, and a film that keeps Taylor Kitsch and Dylan O’Brien from hitting the food bank.
Number one – again by a good old fashioned country mile – is It, Warner Bros. and New Line’s well-made, well-marketed horror flick, that was made with the R-rating in mind, just like Deadpool (you know… for kids!). Without trying to fit a round ball in a square hole, the filmmakers of It have hit the sweet spot, and are now driving people to the theater through the image of a very, very scary clown. It made $35 million over the Monday-to-Thursday period, very close to Deadpool’s $38 million. Friday came and all bets were off. Would It follow its horror brethren and take the big dive? Or would it play like a well-reviewed blockbuster that falls 50-60% in its second weekend?
The follow-up Friday amount came in at $19.2 million ($3 million more than Deadpool – a film that opened $10 million higher). First off, yes, that is a 62% drop compared to the opening Friday, but of course we have those pesky Thursday previews getting in the way, $13.5 million worth. If those are pulled out from last Friday’s $50.4 million opening day, the drop from $37 million isn’t so bad at all. This weekend’s Friday figure shows us that 62% is likely the worst that It will see this weekend.
It’s overall weekend score came in at an out-of-this-world $60 million, breaking another record for best second weekend by an R-rated film, besting Deadpool’s $56.5 million. The second weekend take put It in the same ballpark as Toy Story 3 and The Hunger Games, and It also beat Wonder Woman’s $58.5 million second weekend. Tracking estimates were looking for $50 million for the second weekend of It, so beating tracking by $10 million on a second weekend estimate is the absolute definition of ludicrous. Apparently, racking firms had put too much horror in their It recipe and not enough blockbuster. Be real for a second. Theater owners have been starved by Hollywood over the summer. How closely do you think they are checking ID’s for this creature-feature that stars a bunch of kids?