Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema’s It has floated up to the top of the record books.
In just three weeks, It has surpassed The Exorcist to become the highest-grossing horror movie of all time, according to Variety. Originally released in 1973 and followed by two director’s cut re-releases, The Exorcist earned $232.9 million domestically. On Thursday, It earned $3.9 million for a total of $236.3 million in North America, per Box Office Mojo. Audiences must not hate clowns nearly as much as we thought.
It smashed box office records (biggest R-rated horror opening, biggest September opening) and expectations when it opened to a staggering $113 million on September 8. It has since taken advantage of the relatively quiet September schedule, dropping just 50 percent in its second frame. Even with Kingsman: The Golden Circle opening this weekend, It is still expected to take in a haul of around $30 million. Yeah, this is one leggy monstrosity.
Once It crosses $274 million, it will pass 2013’s Gravity as the highest-grossing film released between Labor Day and November 1, a span which is usually considered to be unfriendly for big box office totals. For simplicity’s sake, we’re not going to split hairs when it comes to dissecting It‘s box office take. For example, you could make the case that the thriller-horror mix of The Sixth Sense is the highest-grosser in the genre with $293 million, but then we’re crossing categories and muddling the field of play.
It will likely join The Passion of the Christ, Deadpool and American Sniper as the only R-rated film to earn upwards of $300 million domestically. That’s music to Warner Bros.’ ears, as the studio has grossed $1.5 billion in North America so far this year. With that kind of money, Justice League could just about bomb, and no one at the studio would bat an eye.