New Line’s It: Chapter Two is seeing an estimated gross tonight per sources between $10M-$11M. If those figures remain on track, the sequel will be 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 tonight at 5PM, while the chapter 1 began at 7PM. 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, however, horror pics are always front-loaded, so too early to call. It‘s Thursday night repped 27% of its $50.4M opening day Friday (the best September ever say) before charting a record 3-day for horror pics and the month of $123.4M. Reviews are lower here for the sequel at 68% fresh to the first installment’s 86% certified fresh.
An extra bonus for anyone watching It: Chapter Two this weekend is the 20-second Birds of Prey trailer which 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 Feb. 7, 2020.
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***king 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.
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 a 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 stunt. If people aren’t talking about the teaser now online, or posting reaction videos, then they’re certainly heading out to watch It tonight. 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. 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.