Adaptation of Stephen King's 'It' Targets Fall Opening Weekend Record
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $51 million on Friday (including $13.5 million from Thursday night previews) WB and New Line's release of It has already smashed records and will continue to do so throughout the weekend as it heads to a $100+ million opening.

Among the records the film has already broken:

  • Largest Thursday Pre-Show for a Horror Movie
  • Largest Thursday Pre-Show for an R-Rated Movie
  • Largest Thursday Pre-Show for a September Movie
  • Largest Friday for a September Movie
  • Largest # of Locations for a R-Rated Movie

The $51 million opening day is just $1.5 million shy of the largest opening ever for an R-rated horror movie and is likely to lead to the second largest opening weekend for an R-rated movie ever, behind Deadpool's $132.4 million last February.

In one day the film has also broken the record for the largest September opening weekend, topping the $48.5 million three-day total for Hotel Transylvania 2. It's also just shy of the $55.8 million Fall opening weekend record set by Gravity.

In addition to its domestic performance, It is now open in 46 markets internationally where it has brought in $25.7 million so far.

As for Open Road's Home Again, it's right on par with our forecast below. After an estimated $3 million Friday the film is heading toward an $8.5 million weekend.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: It is off to a start that should surprise no one, bringing in an impressive $13.5 million from Thursday night previews starting at 7PM in ~3,500 locations, well ahead of the previous record for a horror film set by Paranormal Activity 3 of $8 million back in 2011 before it opened with $52.5 million, the current record opening for an R-rated horror film. In fact, preview grosses like this are on par with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which opened with $84.6 million and $114.7 million respectively.

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: With the worst August in twenty years and worst summer in over ten years now behind us, this weekend will turn up the heat as Fall 2017 gets underway. Debuting in over 4,100 theaters, Warner Bros. and New Line's adaptation of Stephen King's It is looking to break more than just a few records while Open Road's Home Again starring Reese Witherspoon will quietly target a much smaller audience as a counter-programming option.

Before it even hits theaters, WB and New Line's It has already broken records as its 4,103 theaters is the largest opening for an R-rated film ever, topping the 4,071 theaters Logan opened in earlier this year. Obviously, that also makes it the largest opening for an R-rated horror movie, improving on the 3,761 theaters Alien: Covenant debuted in earlier this year when it opened with $36 million. This, of course, begs the question So how much is it going to open with?

Given the sheer size of the release as well as the overwhelming amount of buzz surrounding the film, the forecasted opening is a moving target in that it continues to climb up and up ever since the first trailer generated a record, 197 million online views globally within its first 24 hours of release.

Warner Bros. is remaining incredibly conservative with their estimate, anticipating an opening as high as $65 million, which itself would be enough to top Hotel Transylvania 2's September opening record of $48.4 million. It's also enough to top Gravity's record Fall opening of $55.7 million and Paranormal Activity 3's $52.5 million opening, the largest opening for an R-rated horror film.

Speaking of such records, prior to It's opening weekend we have debuted a new chart featuring the highest grossing R-rated horror films of all-time. The list is led by The Exorcist with $232.9 million followed by this year's Get Out at #2 with $175.4 million. The top ten highest grossing domestic releases among R-rated horror films and top openings are featured below and you can find the complete lists here.

  • The Exorcist - $232.91 M
  • Get Out - $175.48 M
  • The Blair Witch Project - $140.54 M
  • The Conjuring - $137.4 M
  • Paranormal Activity - $107.92 M
  • Interview with the Vampire - $105.26 M
  • Paranormal Activity 3 - $104.03 M
  • Scream - $103 M
  • The Conjuring 2 - $102.47 M
  • Scream 2 - $101.36 M

  • Paranormal Activity 3 - $52.57m Opening / $104.03m Gross-to-Date
  • The Conjuring - $41.86m Opening / $137.4m Gross-to-Date
  • Paranormal Activity 2 - $40.68m Opening / $84.75m Gross-to-Date
  • Friday the 13th (2009) - $40.57m Opening / $65.m Gross-to-Date
  • The Conjuring 2 - $40.41m Opening / $102.47m Gross-to-Date
  • Annabelle - $37.13m Opening / $84.27m Gross-to-Date
  • Freddy Vs. Jason - $36.43m Opening / $82.62m Gross-to-Date
  • Interview with the Vampire - $36.39m Opening / $105.26m Gross-to-Date
  • Alien: Covenant - $36.16m Opening / $74.26m Gross-to-Date
  • Annabelle: Creation - $35.01m Opening / $91.9m Gross-to-Date

As for this weekend, It is already looking to secure its place on both of those charts beginning with what we expect will be an $80+ million opening. To look at IMDb page view data, It is more than doubling the performances seen by films in the Conjuring franchise, the largest opener of which was The Conjuring with $41.8 million back in July 2013. The Conjuring made its debut riding a wave of good reviews (68 on Metacritic) and utilizing a "based on a true story" angle. It has seen similarly strong reviews as it currently holds a 71 on Metacritic and while it isn't based on a true story, it is based on one of Stephen King's most popular novels. Couple that with an ever-increasing wave of '80s nostalgia, in particular the infatuation with Netflix's "Stranger Things" program, a show that has a common thread with It in star Finn Wolfhard who plays Richie, one of the members of It's "The Losers Club".

All told, we're forecasting an $85 million opening and anything higher wouldn't be a surprise. The film has clearly come at the right time, arriving on the heels of the two worst weekends of the year so far. Speaking of which, should it make over $77.5 million it will have grossed more than the combined total for all films from last weekend ($77.5m) as well as the weekend prior ($69.1m).

Moving on, there will be a rather large gap separating first and second place this weekend, which is where we find Open Road's release of Home Again from writer/director Hallie Meyers-Shyer and starring Reese Witherspoon. The romantic comedy is debuting in 2,940 theaters and looking at an opening around $8-12 million. A year ago Bridget Jones's Baby could only muster $8.5 million from 2,927 locations, but IMDb page view data shows Home Again performing much better than Bridget leading up to release. In fact, Home Again is pacing similarly to Witherspoon's Hot Pursuit ($13.9 million opening) and The Intern, which was directed by Meyers-Shyer's mother, Nancy Meyers, and opened with $17.7 million. While we're not expecting Home Again to debut quite as high as either of those two releases, the perceived interest is notable.

Reviews for Home Again currently register a 42 on Metacritic, which puts it more in Hot Pursuit realm than The Intern and when it comes to Open Road, films debuting in this many theaters tend to deliver, on average, openings around $8.4 million. If this was a WB release, as were Hot Pursuit and Intern, we'd be looking at something closer to the $16 million range, but as is, an opening around $8-9 million seems about right.

After three weekends on top, The Hitman's Bodyguard will fall to third place, dropping around 43% or so for a three-day around $6 million. The film's domestic cume will top $65 million come the end of the weekend.

In fourth place we find the Weinsteins' Wind River, which is in its sixth week in release and its sixth straight week where it will see an increase in theaters. Adding another 288 locations this weekend the film is now playing in 2,890 theaters and will be looking at a drop anywhere from 30-35% for a three-day around $4.2 million or so.

Rounding out the top five we find yet another WB and New Line thriller in Annabelle: Creation which, along with It, accounts for over 25% of the theaters in the top ten. The Annabelle sequel is likely to face a decent-sized drop considering the majority of its audience will be flocking to the new supernatural horror in town, but with a weekend around $3.5-4 million this one is looking more and more like it will top $100 million, becoming the only August 2017 release to do so.

In limited release this weekend, Atlas will debut 9/11 into 425 theaters; Sony will open Poster Boys into 50 theaters; China Lion will open the Chinese documentary Twenty Two into ten locations; IFC's Rebel in the Rye opens in four theaters; and IFC will also open The Unknown Girl into two theaters.

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

  • It (4,103 theaters) - $85.0 M
  • Home Again (2,940 theaters) - $8.5 M
  • The Hitman's Bodyguard (3,322 theaters) - $6.0 M
  • Wind River (2,890 theaters) - $4.2 M
  • Annabelle: Creation (3,003 theaters) - $3.8 M
  • Leap! (2,691 theaters) - $2.7 M
  • Dunkirk (2,110 theaters) - $2.4 M
  • Logan Lucky (2,167 theaters) - $2.3 M
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (1,657 theaters) - $1.8 M
  • The Emoji Movie (1,450 theaters) - $1.3 M

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