This will be the third box office post we do for New Line Cinema’s and Warner Bros.’ Stephen King adaptation It, and the reason we keep having to writing them is because estimates keep going up and up (they all float, Georgie). With universally positive word of mouth, it’s easy to see why industry insiders are bullish on It‘s box office potential.
While the previously reported tracking number of $60 million is still very much in play, some believe the Andy Muschietti-directed feature could reach as high as $70 million, per Deadline. This is a massive, jaw-dropping number especially when you remember that the biggest R-rated horror opening of all time is Hannibal‘s $58 million in 2002 and the biggest September opening ever is Hotel Transylvania 2‘s $48.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
We previously estimated that if It lives up to its $60 million expectations and plays like the popular The Conjuring (3.2x domestic multiplier), it could end its run around $450 million on a $35 million to $40 million budget. But if It can somehow score a staggering $70 million opening and still put up a similar multiplier, it will easily cross the half-billion mark. As the first big fall movie and a nostalgia-powered feature, It doesn’t face much cross-generational competition though mother! and Kingsman: The Golden Circle will eat into its revenue just a bit in later weeks.
Still, It is the rare film drawing interest from multiple age demographics (those that became fans from the 1986 novel, the 1990 miniseries and everything since then) while sticking in our collective subconscious.
“We hear everyone wants to see the King classic on the screen; that’s where this excitement is coming from, and there’s a sweet spot with the young-20s crowd. The premiere for It is tonight in Hollywood, and while there’s no Rotten Tomatoes score recorded yet, this crazed clown-meets-Stand by Me pic — which is the first of two installments focusing on the young kids who are haunted by Pennywise — is red hot on social. Following early screenings, RelishMix noticed a jump over the last week in #ItMovie hashtags, from 4,500 to 10K last week.”
A few weeks ago, TheWrap reported that internal estimates over at WB were far more conservative, pegging the movie for a rock solid $35 million opening. But if the hype keeps building like this—and with the review embargo lifting at 2 a.m. ET this morning, it will—they are entitled to get a bit cocky, especially with the year they are having.