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‘It’ surpasses ‘The Exorcist’ as the highest-grossing horror movie ever

Warner Bros. Pictures
After a monstrous (pun intended) opening weekend, It has already floated to another box office record. It’s no surprise the film blew away the record for the best opening weekend for a horror film, after advanced sales were among the best ever for the genre. However, the movie has now sailed past horror icon The Exorcist to become the highest-grossing horror movie of all time in the United States, according to Variety. And the film still has plenty of spine-chilling runway left to go.

It‘s presales put the Andres Muschietti-directed scary movie on track to reach an estimated $60 million at the box office during its opening weekend, but the film did much better than expected, nearly doubling that number for a total of $117.2 million by Sunday, September 13 to become the third highest-grossing movie of 2017, beating out Spider-Man: Homecoming, and coming in just behind Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Since then, the movie has barely slowed down, earning a total of $236.3 million domestically on a modest $35 million budget.

At $408.2 million globally, It still has a short way to go to beat The Exorcist on the international level, which earned $441.3 million in its box office stint. But that doesn’t seem like much more than a speed bump in what could be a record-stomping run. The film has already become the ninth highest R-rated film of all time and earned the crown as the biggest September release in history.

News of It‘s impressive numbers comes on the heels of the worst Labor Day weekend box office in 17 years, according to Box Office Mojo. The top 12 films this year made only $51.5 million combined over the long weekend.

The appeal of It is widespread. People still seem to find the story as intriguing as ever, especially fans of the 1990 TV miniseries starring Tim Curry as the chillingly evil clown, Pennywise. A Fandango survey of 1,000 people found that a majority of It‘s pre-sale ticket buyers watched the TV adaptation.

With the numbers being as incredible as they are, the decision to break the story into two parts looks especially wise. Warner Bros. will release a second film, as the book follows the group in both childhood and adulthood. The first film, which stars Bill Skarsgard and Jaeden Lieberher, focuses on the younger years of its misfit ensemble. The prospective sequel is intended to pick up their story decades later.

In the meantime, It is rolling along at a pace unprecedented in the genre.

Update: This post has been updated to account for ticket sales since the film’s release. 

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Stephanie Topacio Long
Stephanie Topacio Long is a writer and editor whose writing interests range from business to books. She also contributes to…
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