5th Update, Early Sunday AM: It Chapter Two is having a similar Friday-to-Saturday percent hold as the first film, at -10% with $33.6M yesterday, taking the weekend to an estimated $91M, per the studio, still the second-best start for September and a horror pic.
It’s the fifth-best for an R-rated pic, opening behind Matrix Reloaded‘s $91.8M, but is likely fourth with industry estimates seeing $92M for the movie. Imax and PLF drove 21% of the sequel’s B.O. For Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and James McAvoy. Chapter Two is their best live-action opening at the domestic B.O.
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Worldwide, Chapter Two is at $185M, the second-best global start for a horror pic behind It at $189.7M.
Per finance sources, even with the higher production cost of Chapter Two over It, $79M to $35M, the sequel is still a terrific piece of business, still likely to be profitable, though lower than It‘s near $300M.
Beamed Warner Bros. Domestic Distribution boss Jeff Goldstein, “We are really proud of Andy Muschietti and how he’s able to scare the stuffing out of audiences everywhere.”
“Richard Brener and Carolyn Blackwood and their New Line team along with Warner’s Blair Rich and her marketing team, hit it way out of the park,” added Goldstein.
It’s funny, you have can have a superhero movie sequel that’s three hours long do an all-time record amount of business (Endgame at $357.1M) while kids are still in school, but it’s different for an R-rated horror sequel. We hear from some exhibitors that the 2 hours 49-minute running time curbed business for them. It’s a horror film, so Chapter Two isn’t a big matinee show. One East Coast regional exhibitor had Chapter Two on four screens out of nine and could only squeeze out 13 shows. Five of the 13 were evening shows, and he could have had more in the evening if the pic was shorter (note, there’s the trailer pre-roll, advertising, and cleaning between showtimes). But the longer running time meant keeping staff later into the night, and customers getting out at 1 AM. All of this said, Warners was fully aware of the long running time, of course, and aimed to be everywhere with the sequel, making it the widest September release ever at 4,570.
There was a dip in exits here for Chapter Two, with fans on Thursday providing Screen Engine/Comscore’s Post Trak a four star, 80% response, with a 62% definite recommend. Once the crossover crowds came out on Friday and into Saturday, these dipped to 3 1/2 stars, 76% positive and a 56% definite recommend. This, too, could have contributed to a bit of the slowdown. Note, the sequel’s opening does fall within tracking’s range of $90M-$100M (Warners had a bottom floor of $85M for Chapter Two).
Nonetheless, there were crowds, and Chapter Two left all other pics in the top 10 with single digit million results. Updated audience turnout was 50/50 Male and 50% under 25 years old, with 64% between 18-34 years old. Solid turnout per each 25 +/- demos. As of last night, men under 25 led at 28%, males over 25 at 26%, women over 25 at 24%, and females under 25 at 22%. The mix was 47% Caucasian, 26% Hispanic, 14% African American, & 13% Asian/Other.
Friday night CinemaScore audiences under 18 gave Chapter Two a solid A, while the under-25 set at 33% gave the sequel an A-. Overall grade was a B+, just like the first movie.
Chapter Two played best on the coasts, particularly the West, along with the South-West (propelled by Hispanic crowds), but was strong everywhere. Los Angeles was Chapter Two‘s biggest market with around 9% of all ticket sales, followed by NY (6%) and then Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco (around 3% each). Canada pulled in 7% of the weekend.
Much like Marvel transformed the beginning of May into a box office bonanza launchpad, so has Warners here with horror fare in the once-dormant post Labor Day weekend. They have Conjuring 3 on deck a year from now, with New Line untitled horror pics booked for Post Labor Day in 2021 and 2022. With both It pics, Warners/New Line has truly raised the box office bar, and it will be interesting to see if they can outdo themselves in years to come.
The first It held No. 1 for two weekends in a row. That’s likely to be the case again here. STX’s Jennifer Lopez stripper pic Hustlers, which remains awesome on tracking with females, Hispanic, and African American audiences with a $26M projection, is hot out of the gate here at TIFF, with a handful of reviews putting the female empowerment story at 92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Comscore reports that this year’s post Labor Day frame clocked $136.7M, +13% from a year ago, when New Line had The Nun. Year to date box office through today is estimated at $7.97B, -6% from the same period a year ago which was at $8.48B.
WEEKEND B.O. FOR sEPT. 6-8
4th Update, Saturday AM: It Chapter Two slowed down to a $38.1M opening day, now bound for a $92M opening weekend. Distributors hate when this happens: There was a projection fever for the sequel on Friday afternoon with many distrib sources seeing north of $100M. However, the decline isn’t surprising given that this is a horror pic, and a sequel which means front-loaded business. Still, as we said earlier, you can’t ding this start as it’s the 2nd best for September and a horror film — 2nd best to what was an anomaly for the start of the fall B.O. season two years ago, It ($123.4M). Also, Chapter Two is so powerful, it’s taking the air out of the box office with everything else in the top 10 in the single digits (granted, there weren’t any wide entries last week). We also have to factor in that Chapter Two at 2 hours and 49 minutes is as long as the latest director’s cut of Midsommar, and that’s a big ask for horror fans to sit through, especially on a sequel. Obviously a 3 hour-plus running time never hurt Avengers: Endgame, though some analysts believe that might be a pin in Pennywise’s balloon here.
Sometimes there’s some extra cash that exhibitors have from Friday night which goes unreported and we don’t see that until Saturday AM (studios have yet to report as of this writing), but analysts are projecting at least a -15% decline for Chapter Two today when compared to its first day which includes $10.5M Thursday night previews. Chapter Two we hear cost $79M net, shot in Canada with tax credits, before P&A. That’s 126% more than the first movie which cost $35M + $154M in global P&A which yielded a near $300M profit after all worldwide ancillaries were counted. Higher price here comes from the star cast involved, meaning Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and James McAvoy.
CinemaScore for Chapter Two remains the same as It: B+, however PostTrak exits have whittled from 4 stars when the fans came out on Thursday night to 3 1/2 stars last night. Men and women over 25 are out in equal force at 26%. Women under 25 showed up at 25% and men under 25 are at 23%. That’s a perfect picture for a studio when it comes to a turnout: Equal draw all around. 58% definite recommend. Diversity draw was 48% Caucasian, 29% Hispanic, 12% African American and 6% Asian.
RelishMix notes on the social media reaction for Chapter Two that on the positive side, “Fans of the 2017 original have crossover sentiment with those who loved Stephen King’s original novel and even the 1990s TV mini-series. Everyone interested in Chapter Two has different scenes, moments, characters and fears that they are having fun discussing and analyzing with each other on social. It’s interesting to see a campaign’s discussion veer more towards personal stories and more in-depth discussion than the typical quick, shorthand references to moments from the trailers that typically indicate strong interest in the film in question. Chapter Two has some great preceding properties that have built a branding effect with those running out to see it this weekend.”
RelishMix also observes, “The negative side of the fence certainly possesses less shout – but are genuine in their opinion that the 2017 film did not have the impression on them that the book did. There are also references to McAvoy as ‘Professor X’ that are polarizing, as in either very strong or very negative as in he’s perhaps a distracting casting choice to some. Similarly Bill Hader is sometimes referred to as ‘Barry’ from his HBO dram-edy portrayal. Regardless, much more of the negative sentiment is potentially from horror fans who don’t want to be let down by a film they’ve eagerly been anticipating.”
Nonetheless huge social media universe here for the sequel at 411M across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube views, and Instagram. That’s a 50% surge from the first film’s social media draw of 273M, which were numbers only superhero movies would see. Chapter Two‘s viral rate for videos is a whopping 42:1, far outweighing the usual horror film’s 25:1 by opening week. This rate of re-posted videos is particularly strong considering Warner Bros. posted only nine clips on its YouTube channel. The sequel is also earning 78,8K average daily views across its top YouTube videos, once again well ahead of the genre benchmark of 27,7K.
The social star of Chapter Two is young Stranger Things actor Finn Wolfhard at 19.1M. RelishMix says, “It’s a very strong element of the campaign to see these creatives on both the younger co-star’s pages and feeds and then the older co-star’s social destinations, too. While some cast like Bill Hader are not social, it’s always nice to see the original author’s involvement in promotion – Stephen King once again brings his nearly 12M social following to the mix.” Chastain boasts a social media following of 4M.
In its global scream to the world, Chapter Two counts 35 promotional partners including Carl’s Jr, AT&T, Cold Stone and Shell which is unprecedented for not only a R-rated pic, but a horror one two. Typically horror films have some sort of social media stunt (Lionsgate’s Chatroulette freakish one for 2010’s Last Exorcism is still stands out) and some sort of Escape Room/haunted house experience. Chapter Two had one of the latter in its Derry Canal days carnival at Hollywood & Vine in Los Angeles complete with a hall of mirrors, the creepy old lady’s apartment from the pic and more references from the sequel for fans to enjoy and walk through themselves. For It, Warners held a haunted house experience in L.A.
Top 10 based on industry estimates as of early Saturday AM:
BOX OFFICE FOR SEPT. 6-8
3rd Update Friday, Midday: New Line’s It Chapter Two is headed for the second-best horror film and September opening of all time with an estimated $100M-$102M, behind the previous chapter’s all-time $123.4M record in both categories.
Even if this film falls apart and does $90M+, man, that is pretty awesome for the start of the fall B.O. season and still proves that people will come out for an event film in the post-Labor Day period. Among R-rated film openings, It Chapter Two looks to be fourth behind Deadpool ($132.4M), Deadpool 2 ($125.5M) and 2017’s It.
It Chapter Two is seeing an opening day of $44M (including those $10.5M previews last night), which, again, makes it the second best opening day for both a horror film and September after It‘s $50.4M. Chapter Two also reps the fourth-best opening day for an R-rated movie behind Deadpool 2 ($53M), It and Deadpool ($47.3M).
Yes, theatrical is still very alive at the box office, and it’s not because It is a Disney film.
2nd Friday AM UPDATE, after Thursday night post, exits added: New Line Cinema’s It Chapter Two is coming in at $10.5 million, right in the range where our sources saw it last night ($10M-$11M). That’s the second-biggest preview for a horror movie and September release after, of course, 2017’s It, which rang up $13.5M.
The difference here is that preview shows started earlier for the sequel last night at 5 PM, while the original movie began screenings at 7 PM. Also, It played at 3,500 theaters on its Thursday night, while Chapter Two is booked at 3,700-plus, rising to 4,570 theaters tomorrow (easily the widest September release ever, big-footing Warner Animation’s Smallfoot which played at 4,131.
Some sources think a preview start like this has the potential to get It Chapter Two over $100M for its opening frame, but horror pics are always front-loaded, so it’s too early to call. Tracking had the pic between $90M-$100M, with Warner Bros spotting as low as $85M. Anything in that range makes It Chapter Two the second-best opening for September and a horror film behind the all-time record set by its predecessor two years ago ($123.4M). It‘s Thursday night repped 27% of its $50.4M opening day Friday (the best September day ever). Reviews are lower here for the sequel at 68% fresh, compared with the first installment’s 86% certified fresh.
Thursday night’s exits on Screen Engine/Comscore’s PostTrak have It Chapter Two at four stars and 80% with a 62% definite recommend. That’s not that far from It, which notched an 85% overall positive with a strong definite recommend of 64%. It was an even split between under and over 25. Females over 25 were dominant at 30% followed by females under 25 at 27%, males under 25 at 23% and males over 25 at 20%.
By Friday, It’s audience makeup was guys over 25 (31% turnout), followed by females under 25 (24%), males under 25 (23%), and females 25+ (23%).
An extra bonus for anyone watching It Chapter Two this weekend is the 20-second Birds of Prey trailer that Warner Bros released in theaters only, similar to what they did for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet on Hobbs & Shaw. The Suicide Squad spinoff opens on February 7.
The teaser opens on the iconic It music/red balloons, and then cuts to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn taking a swipe at the balloons and exclaiming “I’m so f*cking over clowns!”, followed by a montage from the film showing Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) as well as Ewan McGregor’s bad guy Black Mask.
The fanboy universe is analyzing this what’s-old-is-new marketing stunt as though Warners is re-inventing the wheel: Is this the new way we will see trailers? Golly gosh, in theaters? Um, it’s a pretty simple, clever ploy: In the social media age, zag while others zig and light the online conversation on fire, rather than the typical means of just dropping a trailer and running a clock on global views (which are always boosted by ad buys — records are hardly organic).
Heads are spinning over the Birds of Prey stunt. If people aren’t talking about the teaser now online, or posting reaction videos, then they’re certainly heading out to watch It 2. Mission accomplished, Warner Bros. The studio aptly attached Birds of Prey to a film they knew everyone was going to see this weekend (they sure as heck weren’t going to attach it to The Kitchen). Tenet, if you remember, trailered on the opening weekend of Hobbs & Shaw, which was the last big opener of the summer.
The Lion King’s opening “Circle of Life” sequence for the 1994 film, which trailered only on Disney releases in theaters starting with the November 1993 release of Three Musketeers, remains a classic marketing case for in-theater trailers in the pre-Internet days, a catalyst that certainly drove crowds.