Stephen King is one of the best selling American authors of the 20th century, with over 60 novels published since his debut with 1974's Carrie. But of his dozens upon dozens of horror and thrillers, IT is perhaps one of the most famous. When the latest adaptation (split into two parts) released the first part of IT in 2017, it was a smash hit at the box office, heralding the resurgence of the horror genre at the theaters. Now the IT Chapter Two ratings confirm audiences are here for the thrills.
Despite being such a well known Stephen King novel, IT had never been made for the big screen before 2017. (The 1990s adaptation starring Tim Curry was a TV miniseries.) Critics were impressed by the decision to divide the story in half, with the first film focusing exclusively on the Losers as children, and saving the adult half for Chapter Two. They were also impressed by those children cast, with the movie coming in at a whopping 86% fresh.
IT Chapter Two sadly hasn't quite reached the same heights as the first film, but it's still charting quite well on Rotten Tomatoes. The film currently sits at 68% fresh, with 164 reviews published and counting.
Peter Travers at Rolling Stone suggests drop between films in freshness comes from the decision not to go quite so hard on the scares the second time around.
Almost as scary but not quite as grabby as Chapter One, the grownup second half of Stephen King's horror saga is lifted by a great Bill Hader and Bill Skarsgård's iconic psycho clown Pennywise, but hobbled by a nearly three-hour run time.
Peter Debruge at Variety says the film earns the right to run nearly three hours.
An elaborate fun-house horror movie that springs pop-up gimmicks and boogie-boogie scares steadily enough to excuse its been-there story and self-important 169-minute running time.
And Katie Walsh at the Tribune News Service feels that IT Chapter Two ties in the horrors of the real world nicely.
It's all incredibly Jungian, dredging up their shadows in order to face them. But in the process, it becomes clear the horrors of the real world are so much more horrifying than any giant murderous statues, puking ghouls or elderly wraiths.
As for how the film will do at the box office, the box office predictions are suggesting the summer drought of films tanking right and left are over. Pennywise is going to make it rain quite a few pennies, according to Deadline.
All in, industry sources are seeing a global debut that could potentially score a worldwide opening record for a horror pic with $200 million+, besting the previous It's $189.7M start. This time, however, overseas is expected to make more than domestic — the opposite of the case in September 2017, when It posted the best domestic and September opening of all time with $123.4M. North America, this time in around 4,200 theaters, is expected to deliver north of $90M, maybe $100M.
The reason US predictions are lower than overseas is that nearly three-hour running time. But box office prognosticators also thought three hours would tank Avengers: Endgame and everyone saw how that turned out.
IT Chapter Two arrives in theaters Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.