“It: Chapter Two” had a monster weekend, but it came up short of the record-setting success of its predecessor.
The follow-up to Warner Bros. 2017’s horror hit “It” brought in an estimated $91 million this weekend. That’s the highest-grossing opening for an R-rated film this year and the second biggest debut in the history of September. But the film brought in $32 million less than the opening of the original film, which made a record $123 million two years ago.
According to Warner Bros., “Chapter Two” is also the second-largest opening for a horror movie ever behind the original “It.” The film made $185 million globally this weekend.
The movie, which is based on the Stephen King bestseller and stars Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, exceeded industry expectations, however. It was expected to bring in $85 to $90 million this weekend.
“Chapter Two” had a strong opening, but its lengthy run time could have held back its ticket sales. The film clocks in at two hours and 49 minutes, roughly 35 minutes more than the first. Longer films usually mean fewer showtimes and that can mean less money at the box office.
“The original set the box office bar so high for the horror genre, so that’s hard to live up to,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore told CNN Business. “And just as a practical matter, it likely had less showtimes due to its length. That hurts its bottom line regardless of how good the movie is.”
Despite “Chapter Two” not having as big of an opening as its original film, its strong weekend could give momentum to a big fall and winter for Hollywood.
The US box office is down roughly 6% compared to last year, but the rest of 2019 has many potential hits on the slate including “Joker,” “Frozen 2,” “Jumanji: The Next Level” and final chapter of the Skywalker saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker.”
And just because “It: Chapter Two” didn’t have as big of an opening as its predecessor that doesn’t mean it won’t continue to be successful at the box office for weeks to come, according to Dergarabedian.
“This is a really great opening for a September film, and it could have a lot of long term success. That’s exactly what the box office needs to see right now,” he said. “The running time of the film may have been a bit scary for the ticket booth this weekend, but its long-term prospects are not.”