'It' Set for $50M+ Second Weekend, Smothering 'Mother!' and 'American Assassin' Debuts
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Lionsgate's release of CBS Films' American Assassin brought in $915,000 from Thursday night previews in 2,400 locations beginning at 7PM. This compares favorably to John Wick, which kicked off its run to a $14.4 million opening with $870k from Thursday screenings.

Paramount's mother! delivered $700k from Thursday previews beginning at 7PM in ~2,000 locations, which is behind the $855k for Crimson Peak, which we used as one of our comps in our weekend preview below. It is, however, an improvement on the $520k Nightcrawler brought in before it opened with $10.4 million back in October 2014.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Following a record breaking opening last weekend, WB and New Line's It will reign supreme once again this weekend, pushing the horror film's domestic gross near record heights after just ten days of release. Meanwhile, also vying for some attention at the box office this weekend is a pair of new films in Lionsgate and CBS Films' American Assassin and Paramount's mother!, the latter of which was originally set to release in mid-October, unaware of the predicament it would soon face, opening in the wake of It's blockbuster debut while sharing a wide swath of its intended audience.

Looking to finish with $50+ million this weekend, It will follow up its $123 million opening with a sophomore session that will find the film finishing around $210-215 million come Sunday evening. It has broken records all week including delivering the largest Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in September and largest Monday and Wednesday ever for a horror film. Looking ahead to this weekend, the four other 2017 releases that opened over $100 million saw a drop of 43% for Wonder Woman, 48% for Beauty and the Beast, 55.5% for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and 62% for Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Given the sheer size of It's opening weekend, which more than doubled the previous opening record for an R-rated horror film, it would be reasonable to expect a significant, second weekend drop. But with the way the film has captured the zeitgeist, inspiring continued conversation on social media and strong IMDb page view performance, we're anticipating a better-than-average second frame. It's performance on IMDb decimates comparisons to the likes of any film in the Conjuring franchise. It's even outperforming Spider-Man: Homecoming by a wide margin and pacing not too far behind Deadpool, which did drop 57.4% in its second weekend, but given it opened over a holiday weekend it's sophomore results were likely affected a touch.

That being said, it almost feels conservative to go with our $56.5 million forecast for this weekend, signaling a drop around 54.2%, but when folks online are debating what it would take for Pennywise to encourage them into the sewer, the strong word of mouth should be enough to encourage them, at the very least, to head into the theater.

Second place is likely to go to Lionsgate and CBS's American Assassin, but just how much it will make is up for debate. Industry expectations are comparing the film to The Mechanic and John Wick, anticipating an opening anywhere from $11-14 million. The comparisons make sense and when looking at IMDb page view performance leading up to release, American Assassin is pacing behind John Wick while at the same time pacing ahead of Lionsgate's most recent hitman film, The Hitman's Bodyguard, for the last 90+ days. This isn't to say we're expecting an opening on par with Hitman's $21.3 million bow, though interest has been visibly piqued and has remained so leading up to release, which contributes to our $14.5 million forecast.

In third we find Darren Aronofsky's mother!, which, more than American Assassin, has the misfortune of opening in the shadow of It and in only 2,368 theaters. Industry expectations are for an opening in the low teens and our forecast is right on the edge at $12 million, largely attributed to the fact the film's marketing has relied heavily on the more horrifying aspects of the film's dramatic narrative, which is effective marketing, but may slightly result in smaller returns as it vies for an audience already being consumed by It.

Leading up to release, mother! debuted at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals to strong reviews and it currently holds a positive, 76 rating on Metacritic. While some of the conversation surrounding the film has been polarizing, the effect appears to be an overall positive when looking at IMDb page view comparisons. The film saw significant interest following the trailer release, and when comparing to previous Jennifer Lawrence films it's been out-performing both Joy and Passengers leading up to release. It has also seen far better results compared to Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak, which opened with $13.1 million in October 2015. Again, the big question mark is It, and how much it will affect the film's debut and whether or not what may end up being a smaller opening weekend will still deliver stronger holds over subsequent weekends throughout the Fall frame.

Fourth place is likely to go to Open Road's Home Again, which is adding almost 100 theaters this weekend, playing in 3,036 and expected to deliver around $4.6 million followed by The Hitman's Bodyguard in fifth with a weekend around $2.4 million.

In limited release, Annapurna will release Amazon's Brad's Status into four theaters and Abramorama will debut Wetlands into ten locations.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • It (4,148 theaters) - $56.5 M
  • American Assassin (3,154 theaters) - $14.5 M
  • mother! (2,368 theaters) - $12.0 M
  • Home Again (3,036 theaters) - $4.6 M
  • The Hitman's Bodyguard (3,272 theaters) - $2.8 M
  • Wind River (2,619 theaters) - $2.2 M
  • Annabelle: Creation (2,117 theaters) - $1.8 M
  • Leap! (2,416 theaters) - $1.4 M
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (1,436 theaters) - $1.3 M
  • Dunkirk (1,478 theaters) - $0.9 M

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