Skip to main content

‘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. 

Editors' Recommendations

Stephanie Topacio Long
Stephanie Topacio Long is a writer and editor whose writing interests range from business to books. She also contributes to…
Timothée Chalamet becomes a candy legend in Wonka’s first trailer
Timothée Chalamet in Wonka.

It's going to be a busy fall for Timothée Chalamet. In November, Chalamet is headlining the highly-anticipated sci-fi sequel, Dune: Part Two from Warner Bros. and Legendary. And just over a month later, Warner Bros. will release Wonka, Chalamet's second film of the holiday season. Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp previously portrayed the iconic candy maker in 1971 and 2005 within Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, respectively. But this new film isn't a remake, it's essentially Wonka Begins, the previously untold origin of Roald Dahl's unforgettable character.

WONKA | Official Trailer

Read more
A war begins in the new trailer for Dune: Part Two
Timothée Chalamet in "Dune: Part Two."

By splitting Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel Dune into two parts, director Denis Villeneuve delayed the introduction of the story's primary villain: The Emperor of the Universe, Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken). But in the newly released trailer for Dune: Part Two, viewers finally get their first glimpse at the man who plotted the downfall of House Atreides. House Harkonnen may have struck the blow against their rival house, but Shaddam IV allowed it because he feared that the late Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) would unseat him. But the Emperor has badly miscalculated, because Leto's son, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), is now poised to make Shaddam IV's fears into a reality.

Dune: Part Two | Official Trailer 2

Read more
The best performances in Stephen King movies, ranked
Jack Nicholson in "The Shining."

It's time for summer, which means more barbecues in the backyard, more people crowding the local swimming pool, and more trips to the movie theaters to catch the latest blockbuster. A new tradition for moviegoers has been watching scary movies during the hot weather months, with last year delivering the frightfully scary horror movie The Black Phone, among many others.

This year is no different, with The Boogeyman now scaring audiences in multiplexes across the nation. The horror movie, about two sisters being terrorized by an unseen menace in their spacious and creaky home, is just the latest in a long line of Stephen King adaptations. From 1976's Carrie to the It movies, these films have not only delivered thrills and chills, but also surprisingly good performances. From killer clowns to telekinetic teenagers, these performances are among the best ever in Stephen King's movies.
8. Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgård, It

Read more