'It' is a hit! The Stephen King horror flick shattered box office records

Horror movies don’t usually land at the box office like this.

It, the New Line/Warner Bros. adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel, is expected to end its opening weekend with $117.2 million at the box office. That’s a staggeringly huge figure for any movie to open with, and a basically impossible one — until now, apparently — for an R-rated horror movie.

For context: Prior to It, the top opening weekend for an R-rated horror movie belonged to Paranormal Activity 3, which earned $52.6 million in 2011. The rest of that Top 10 list after Paranormal is populated by movies that opened at $41 million or less.

In other words: This is an unprecedented situation. R-rated horror movies just don’t do this type of business. Hell, horror movies don’t do this type of business, regardless of rating.

It did, however, and it broke multiple records in the process.

In addition to topping the opening weekend charts for R-rated horror, It also has the largest horror opening for any MPAA rating, the largest September debut, and the largest Fall season debut. If the weekend estimate holds, it will also end the weekend as the third-largest debut of the year, just ahead of Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s $117 million.

On top of all that: However the final weekend tally falls — the current number is only an estimate — it’s already clear that It earned more in its opening weekend than the other nine movies listed in the weekend’s Top 10 combined. You could triple the total weekend take for those nine movies and still not quite scratch the It estimate.

The question, then, is why did this happen?

King’s work is certainly popular, and It has enjoyed a buzzy ride since its debut trailer first dropped in March. Many people who are old enough to see an R-rated movie now remember the beloved-yet-flawed TV adaptation of It from the ’90s, so there’s nostalgia in play here as well.

But there’s more to it than that.

We’re just capping off one of the worst summer seasons in Hollywood history, with the lowest overall box office during that period in roughly two decades. In other words: movie buffs are bored AF. They’ve been aching for something new, and good, to see.

It seems to have delivered.

WATCH: The striking differences between Stephen King ‘It’ and the 1990’s mini series

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