Looks Like Pennywise Beat Up James McAvoy on the Set of ‘IT: Chapter 2’ (Photo)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

James McAvoy has mixed it up with Pennywise the Dancing Clown on the set of “IT: Chapter 2,” and apparently it didn’t go super well.

McAvoy instagrammed the aftermath of his battle with the evil shape-shifting clown (played by Bill Skarsgard) during shooting. According to the post, the result was “two pulled thighs.” The photo shows McAvoy in his chair on set, using “Compresse Froide” (“cold compress” in French — the movie’s shooting in Toronto, which is sorta close to French-speaking Quebec) — to ease the pain.

Also Read: James McAvoy Photos From ‘IT: Chapter 2′ Suggest More to the Kids’ Story

While McAvoy might have lost this go-round with Pennywise, he promised he wasn’t done with the fight against Pennywise via a hashtag: “#gonnatakehimdowntoclowntown.” We assume that, despite Pennywise being a clown, “Clown Town” is a euphemism for a beat-down and not a place he would actually want to go.

In the second movie of the two-part “IT” film adaptation, McAvoy plays the grown-up version Bill Denbrough, played as a kid by Jaeden Lieberher in the first “IT.” Bill is something of the leader of the group of kids known as the “Losers Club,” and he led them down into the sewers beneath Derry, Maine, (Clown Town?) to fight the demonic clown — and they even managed to defeat it.

Given the dirty look of McAvoy’s clothes and the discussion of fighting Pennywise, it’s a fair guess that McAvoy and the rest of the cast were filming what might be the climactic final battle between the Losers Club and their clown arch-nemesis. In the first “IT,” the final fight between the kids and Pennywise took place in a huge, cavernous room beneath the city, but while they hurt the clown, they didn’t manage to kill it before it escaped down a pipe. If the novel (and McAvoy’s clothes in the shot) are any indication, the final fight between the Losers and Pennywise will likely take them even deeper into the earth, to stop Pennywise from escaping a second time.

Just what that final battle will be like is an open question, however. In the Stephen King novel on which the movie is based, Pennywise isn’t the true form of the creature the kids are hunting, but one of its many shapeshifting masks. The real monster looks more like a giant spider, something we haven’t seen yet.

Also Read: ‘Castle Rock’ Just Explained Why So Many Stephen King Stories Happen There

And then there’s the question of the fight itself. The movie version of the battle with Pennywise in “IT” included some spooky trickery and an emphasis on the kids refusing to be afraid of the clown, which drained its powers, but they still wound up smashing its head with a pipe. The novel battle is different — it’s all mental, with Bill facing down the spider-monster on another plane of existence, beating it with what is basically the pure power of belief. When the adults show up 27 years later, the fight with the spider is pretty similar to that battle.

If McAvoy’s Bill is straining to fight Pennywise (or maybe the spider version of the clown), that suggests a more physical confrontation with the creature than what’s in the novel. That could mean that trying to predict the outcome of “IT: Chapter 2” from the way King’s novel shakes out might be a lost cause. We’ll have to wait for the movie’s release in September 2019 to find out.

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‘It’ Star Bill Skargard Says Pennywise Haunted His Dreams After Shoot

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Bill Skarsgard scared the living bejeezus out of all of us when he played Pennywise the Clown in New Line’s “It” last year — and now, the actor says the iconic character haunted his dreams well after shooting.

“I liken every character that I do to a relationship that you’re in,” Skarsgård told Entertainment Weekly. “Pennywise and Bill go into this sort of relationship together, and I’m trying to figure out who he is and I have to devote so much time and effort to this other person – or thing, in this case – and that goes on for months.”

He added, “After we wrapped, I was in my childhood home in Sweden, sitting having coffee with my mom at our kitchen table, and realized, ‘Oh, holy sh–, I don’t have to deal with this relationship anymore!’ It was a very quick shift of just feeling better, like, ‘Oh my God, I’m relieved that I don’t have to deal with the darkness of the character.’ I likened it to an exorcism – him exiting my body and getting rid of the Pennywise toxins.”

Also Read: Pennywise Photobombs Woman’s Engagement Pictures

But that didn’t mean Pennywise was done with Skarsgard.

“I was home, done with the movie, and I started having very strange and vivid Pennywise dreams,” he said. “Every night, he came and visited.”

And like in the film, Pennywise took on different forms, depending on your own personal fear: “It was in the shape of either me dealing with him, sort of Pennywise as a separate entity of me, and then also me as Pennywise in circumstances that I didn’t appreciate. Like, I’m Pennywise and I’m really upset that I’m out in public and people are looking at me.”

See Video: Burger King Throws Shade at Pennywise After Screening of ‘It’ in Germany

Skarsgard will play the evil clown in the upcoming sequel, which will focus on the adult part of Stephen King’s famous novel. And Skarsgard is “good with it.”

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‘It’ Girl? Jessica Chastain Is Bent on Playing Beverly Marsh in Sequel (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Jessica Chastain is once again telling the world she wants to play the adult version of Beverly Marsh in the second chapter of the runaway hit horror film “It.”

“Well, I love Andy and Barbara [Muschietti] — I worked with them on Andy’s directorial debut, ‘Mama,’ and Barbara is one of my best friends,” Chastain said in an interview with ScreenRant during the “Molly’s Game” press tour.

“Mk… get me in!” her co-star, Idris Elba, said, nudging the actress with his elbow.

Also Read: Jessica Chastain Says She ‘Would Kick Any Clown’s A-‘ If She Was in ‘It’ Sequel

“They’re my friends. Anything they are doing, I want to be a part of,” added Chastain. “I hope we can make it happen.”

Sophia Lillis, who played Bev in this year’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s “It,” is on the record saying she’d like Chastain to play the adult version of the character. And in November, the Chastain declared that she’d love to do it, saying she’d “kick any clown’s a–.”

See Photo: Jessica Chastain’s Villain Looks Fierce in ‘Dark Phoenix’ First Look

An individual with knowledge told TheWrap that no casting decisions will be made in the near future — as the script needs to be completed first.

While we wait for official casting news, Chastain is in post-production for “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” as well as “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” in which she plays the villain.

Watch the interview above.

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Warner Bros. Crosses $2 Billion at Domestic Box Office for First Time Since 2009

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

It’s been a very good year for Warner Bros. at the box office, as the studio crossed the $2 billion mark at the domestic box office on Sunday. It’s only the second time in studio history that WB has hit this mark, and comes just days after the studio hit $5 billion worldwide.

Though the studio’s latest film, “Justice League,” hasn’t performed as well as analysts hoped with $212 million domestic through four weekends, WB has had plenty of other big successes this year, most notably “Wonder Woman,” which became the movie of the summer with $412.5 million. WB also had the big surprise of the year with “It,” which became the highest grossing horror movie and highest grossing September release of all time with $327.3 million.

Also Read: Warner Bros. Crosses $5 Billion at Global Box Office

Other films that have performed well for WB are Oscar contender “Dunkirk” ($188 million), “The Lego Batman Movie” ($175.7 million), “Kong: Skull Island” ($168 million) and “Annabelle: Creation” ($102 million). That gives WB seven films that have grossed more than $100 million, the most of any studio, as well as an industry-best eight No. 1 opening weekends for 2017.

Warner Bros. is currently first on the domestic charts with 20 percent market share, though Disney will overtake them once “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is released. Even still, WB has been remarkably consistent over the past decade, finishing in first or second among all studios in eight of the last ten years, including a studio record $2.13 billion made in 2009. WB is also the only studio to gross more than $1 billion domestically every year since 2000.

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‘It’ Sequel to Float Into Theaters September 2019

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The sequel to New Line’s “It” will be released on Sept. 6, 2019, including IMAX, Warner Bros. announced Monday.

To date, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic novel has grossed $266 million domestically, and has broken several records since it opened earlier this month. That includes the biggest opening for a horror movie, the largest opening for a September movie, and the highest grossing horror film ever.

The King novel was always meant to be adapted into two parts, with the first movie focusing on the children’s experience with the iconic monster and the follow-up to be told from the adults’ perspective.

See Video: ‘It’ Child Actors First Saw Pennywise on Camera: ‘We Wanted Their Reactions to Be Real’

“It” starred Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard, Jaden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff and Chosen Jacobs, and was directed by Andy Muschietti. The film was released on Sept. 8 and received solid reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a score of 84 percent “fresh.”

Until then, New Line will release “Life of the Party” in co-production with Warner Bros. starring Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and Gillian Jacobs. The studio will also release “Game Night” and “The Nun,” the latest addition to the “Conjuring” franchise.

So far, nothing else is dated on Sept. 6, 2019. So Pennywise will be back to terrorize us once again.

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‘It’ Child Actors First Saw Pennywise on Camera: ‘We Wanted Their Reactions to Be Real’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Do you remember the horrifying projector scene in “It,” where the kids see Pennywise the Clown? Well, that was the first time the actors as a group actually laid eyes on the iconic monster, and it was caught on camera.

In a featurette released by Warner Bros. on the third weekend of the movie’s run at the box office, director Andy Muschietti and producer Barbara Muschietti reveal that they kept the clown (played by Bill Skarsgard) away from the kids as long as possible so their reaction on camera would be authentic.

“We wanted to keep him away because we wanted their reaction to be real,” Barbara Muschietti said. Producer Seth Grahame-Smith added, “It is authentic to how kids should be reacting and that was one of Andy’s things in terms of scaring the kids.”

See Video: Watch Pennywise’s Creepy A-ha Moment Dancing to ‘Take on Me’ and Other Classic Songs

“The first time we saw him, all together, was the projector scene,” Wyatt Oleff, who plays Stan Uris, said in the featurette.

“It got our real reactions,” added Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom), while Finn Wolfhard said, “I was so freaked out.”

Also Read: ‘It’ Passes ‘The Exorcist’ to Become Highest Grossing Horror Movie Ever

In a recent interview with TheWrap, Oleff told TheWrap that the first time he saw Skarsgard dressed as the killer clown, “he was standing next to a monitor and he had his full clown makeup from neck up, and his clown pants, and then he had like a white tank top on, and he’s holding a cup of coffee talking to Andy [Muschietti], the director, and I was like, should I go talk to him? And then I thought to myself, probably not.”

On Friday, “It” became the highest grossing horror movie ever.

See the featurette above.

Watch the video above.

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Watch Pennywise’s Creepy A-ha Moment Dancing to ‘Take on Me’ and Other Classic Songs (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Remember Pennywise’s creepy dancing scene down in the sewers from “It?” Well, imagine that scene playing to your favorite songs like A-ha’s 1984 hit “Take on Me” andOutKast’s “Hey Ya!”

That’s exactly what some genius did on Twitter — making Pennywise dance to a variety of different songs, including “Everytime We Touch,” “The Macarena,” “Shake it Off,” “I’m Blue” and “Barbie Girl.” The social media guru even matched “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” … just slowed down a tiny bit.

In Andy Muschietti’s film adaptation — which just became the highest grossing horror movie ever — Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) performs a dance routine for Beverly (Sophia Lillis), whom he has taken down the sewers

Also Read: What Would Pennywise Have to Say to Make You Come Down in the Sewer? Twitter Answers

Social media has had field days with “It” — just last week, one Twitter user, who goes by Pennydook Shipper, started circulating a meme with a still from the hit horror movie showing the spooky clown peeking out from the beyond a rain gutter with the caption: “What would Pennywise have to say to get you to go down there with him?”

The tweet took off, becoming a viral Twitter Moment in the process, as people were chiming in with what would get them to risk it all and hop in the sewers with a murderous clown who lures children to its lair.

Also Read: ‘It’ Has Broken a Box Office Record Every Day for Past Week

“It” has broken various records since its release on Sept. 8 and has since grossed $236 million domestically.

See some of the best dancing videos below, and check out more here.

Everytime We Touch #ITMovie #IT #ItMovie2017 pic.twitter.com/oZrFSh46eQ

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 12, 2017

The Macarena! pic.twitter.com/LZ4AOhRddi

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 21, 2017

Shake It Off! pic.twitter.com/hp1VSTKxHv

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 21, 2017

Happy! #ITMovie pic.twitter.com/8inH70AIcP

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 21, 2017

Take On Me #ITMovie pic.twitter.com/ssZi3jUqMB

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 14, 2017

Hey Ya! #ITMovie #IT pic.twitter.com/HFQzoRgDhA

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 12, 2017

YMCA #ITMovie pic.twitter.com/Q5bA1fJ8Qo

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 12, 2017

Barbie Girl #ITMovie #ItMovie2017 pic.twitter.com/VCpyDx3GW6

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 12, 2017

Cotton Eye Joe pic.twitter.com/nCiSk4c2Iz

— Pennywise Dancing (@Pennywise_Dance) September 12, 2017

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‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Lassoes $3.4 Million at Thursday Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” lassoed $3.4 million at the Thursday previews, more than double of what the first “Kingsman” earned in 2015 ($1.4 million).

Both the studio and independent trackers anticipate the film to open in the low $40 million range against a $104 million budget.  The sequel’s 2015 predecessor, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” grossed a $36.2 million opening from its mid-February release, going on to gross $128.2 million domestic and $414 million worldwide against an $81 million budget.

Reviews have been mixed — the film holds a score of 52 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. “The Golden Circle” stars Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Pedro Pascal, Mark Strong, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum, and was directed by Matthew Vaughn.

Also Read: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Review: Spy Sequel Provides Bugger All in the Way of Fun

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” sees dapper super-spy Eggsy (Egerton) return to stop the evil terror ring known as The Golden Circle with the help of the Kingsmen’s American counterparts, the Statesmen.

“Kingsman” should easily take the No. 1 spot this weekend, beating New Line’s “It” as well as Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” which is expected to make a solid $35 million this weekend. Warner Bros. pegs the movie at around $30 million. “It” earned another whopping $3.9 million on Thursday, and has finally surpassed “The Exorcist” to become the highest grossing horror movie of all time, having earned $236.3 million so far.

“The Lego Ninjago Movie” follows six young aspiring ninjas as they train under Master Wu (Jackie Chan) to protect the land of Ninjago from an invasion by the evil Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux), father of the ninjas’ leader, Lloyd (Dave Franco). Fred Armisen, Olivia Munn and Kumail Nanjiani also star. Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan are directors.


‘It’ Stomps on Newcomers ‘American Assassin,’ ‘mother!’ With $7.2 Million at Thursday Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

New Line’s “It” continues to dominate at the box office, earning another $7.2 million on Thursday while newcomers “American Assassin” and “mother!” took in $915,000 and $700,000 in previews, respectively.

Liongate and CBS Films’ thriller “American Assassin” is on track to open in the $12 million to $14 million range, on a production budget of $33 million.

The action film, based on the Mitch Rapp novel series by Vince Flynn, stars Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch. It seems to be following the trajectory of 2014’s “John Wick,” which grossed $870,000 that Thursday and went on to make $14.4 million in its first weekend.

Also Read: ‘mother!’ Review: Jennifer Lawrence Horror Flick in All Its Glorious Insanity

Meanwhile, director Darren Aronofsky’s trippy horror movie “mother!” — which stars Jennifer Lawrence — is also targeting a $12 million to $14 million opening on a $30 million production budget.

Fox is releasing the movie, which also stars Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris.

Also Read: Can ‘Mother!’ or ‘American Assassin’ Poke a Hole in ‘It’ Box Office Balloon?

Last week, “It” became horror’s biggest box office hit ever, opening to $123 million and breaking several records in the process. The film adaptation of Stephen King’s famous novel is expected to float at No. 1 again this weekend.

Since its debut, the film starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown has grossed $158.7 million domestically. It was produced for $35 million and directed by Andy Muschietti.

Last Thursday, the film broke two more box office records: largest horror film gross on a Thursday, and largest Thursday gross in September.

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‘It’ Almost Included ’80s Horror Villain Freddy Krueger, Director Says

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Did you know that 1980s horror villain Freddy Krueger almost appeared in New Line’s horror mega-hit “It”?

In an interview with Aint-It-Cool-News, director Andy Muschietti noted that Stephen King’s original novel “makes a portrait of childhood in the ’50s. He’s very genuine when he brings all the Universal Monsters to the repertoire of incarnation because that’s what kids were afraid of.”

So in re-setting the story in the 1980s, Muschietti said that he and his team did contemplate including big-screen horror monsters from that decade as objects of fear for the young characters — including a certain clawed villain from 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and its sequels.

Also Read: ‘It’: Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise Grin Is Just as Creepy Without Makeup (Video)

“Obviously we considered that for a bit, but I wasn’t too interested in bringing Freddy Krueger into the mix,” he told the site. “It’s distracting and it didn’t feel right, for some reason. I wanted to bring fears that were a little more layered and related to childhood trauma and more surprising in general.”

Muscietti also noted that “It” was also released by New Line, now a division of Warner Bros. but in the ’80s an indie studio that became known as the House That Freddy Built because of the popularity of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” horror franchise. “I thought it was a bit too meta with New Line involved in the film,” he said.

“It” is currently playing in theaters.

Muschietti directed the remake, from a screenplay by Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman and Chase Palmer. Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff and “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard also star.

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Why IMAX Was Late to Booking the ‘It’ Movie

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IMAX nearly missed out on the whole “It” cash cow.

The huge-screen theater experience company didn’t initially have the Stephen King adaptation prominently on its radar, company CEO Rich Gelfond said Wednesday at Goldman Sachs Communicopia. Then again, no one really did. Thankfully, Gelfond’s team — and his new technology — were pretty quick to pivot to the surprise blockbuster, which has already hauled in $132 million domestically, per Box Office Mojo.

On IMAX screens alone, “It” has made $7 million, per Forbes, which is a record for a September release and a horror movie in the unique format. Nice work, Rich.

Also Read: Will ‘It’ Have ‘Get Out’-Style Staying Power at the Box Office?

“‘It’ was getting a lot of positive buzz — not this positive,” Gelfond said Wednesday morning. “In fact, I think people thought it would open to about $70 million. So everybody was surprised by about 100 percent by what the results were.”

“We were playing a September fill-in that we had helped create, which was the first two episodes of Marvel’s ‘Inhumans,’ an ABC series,” he said of the unique TV series debut. “[‘Inhumans’] did fine in its first weekend, [making] two-and-a-half million dollars.”

“But when you saw a train like that coming down the tracks in ‘It,’ it made a lot of sense to regroup,” Gelfond continued. “And we did that with very little marketing and very little time to get in it. We made very nice revenues.”

Also Read: Can ‘Mother!’ or ‘American Assassin’ Poke a Hole in ‘It’ Box Office Balloon?

Fortunately, IMAX recently upgraded to an automated DMR, which is how they convert regular films to IMAX films, as well as distribution process. They’re in the beginning stages of digital, which means no need to ship out physical copies to thousands of theaters when something like “It” explodes.

“We can react very quickly,” Gelfond said. Clearly.

IMAX continues to make more than a few nickels off of Pennywise. “It,” which cost $35 million to make, will cross the $200 million worldwide box office mark any minute now.

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Last week, “It” became horror’s biggest box office hit ever, making more than $123 million and on pace to blast into 2017’s top 10 highest domestic gross list. The scary Stephen King adaptation is also expected to stay in the No. 1 spot this weekend without any serious competition, even from another, far more disturbing film that’s coming out.

That would be Paramount’s “mother!,” the highly polarizing psychological thriller from Darren Aronofsky that has had critics buzzing since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival. The film currently has a 77 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviews calling it a piece of audacious, extreme cinema. While “It” aims to provide fun scares with a sewer-dwelling, sharp-toothed clown, “mother!” aims to genuinely disturb its audience.

Also Read: 5 Reasons ‘It’ Became Horror’s Biggest Box Office Success Ever

To protect that unnerving experience, Paramount has staged a very secretive marketing campaign featuring a bare-bones synopsis: “A couple’s relationship (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) is tested when uninvited guests (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.” Because of its intense material and opaque advertising, “mother!” isn’t built for the masses like “It.” Instead, it’s aiming for moviegoers looking for a more challenging and unexpected horror ride. Projections have the film earning an opening in between $12 million to $14 million from 2,369 locations, against a production budget of $30 million.

Also releasing this weekend is Lionsgate/CBS Films’ “American Assassin,” an action film based on the Mitch Rapp novel series by Vince Flynn, starring Dylan O’Brien (the “Maze Runner” series), Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch. Like “mother!”, it is also projected to earn a $12-14 million opening from more than 3,000 screens, with a similar budget of $33 million. Studio insiders tell TheWrap that a $14 million start would be considered a success for this film, as it would match the opening made by “John Wick” in 2014.

“mother!” is written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, with Scott Franklin and Ari Handel producing. “American Asssassin” is directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing.

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‘It’ Scores Monster $123 Million in Final Opening Weekend Box Office Tally

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New Line Cinema’s “It” scored a huge $123 million opening in the final box office tally, after the studio had initially estimated an opening of $117.2 million on Sunday.

The film adaptation of Stephen King’s famous novel took the third-largest opening weekend of 2017, just behind “Beauty and the Beast” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” However, “It” managed to surpass “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which made $117 million.

“It” also broke various records over the weekend. It landed the biggest horror opening of all time, surpassing “Paranormal Activity 3” ($52.6 million). It also became the biggest September debut of all time, beating “Hotel Transylvania 2,” which earned $48.5 million in in 2015. Lastly, “It” became so big that it scored the biggest opening for an R-rated film, a record which was previously held by “Deadpool” with $132.4 million.

Also Read: ‘It’ Smashes Box Office Records With $117 Million Opening

Initially, it was expected to fall short, because of theater closures in Houston and Florida due to the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The closures were estimated by industry sources to account for a 5-6 percent drop in revenue.

At the start of the week, trackers expected “It” to make $60-65 million, which still would have made it the biggest September opening ever. But after positive reviews came in and gave the film an 86 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the projections were bumped to $80-90 million. After a Friday that saw “It” score the biggest preview numbers for an R-title and beat the September opening record in just one day, the hype and word-of-mouth for the film rolled from critics to audiences, who gave the film a B+ on CinemaScore. Strong social media activity took care of the rest.

Also Read: ‘It’ Movie: 10 Most Glaring Changes From Stephen King’s Novel

“It” stars Bill Skarsgard as the infamous Pennywise the Clown. The cast is rounded out by Jaden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff and Nicholas Hamilton. Andy Muschietti directed.

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Boy, did the box office need this one. After the weakest Labor Day weekend since the turn of the century, Warner Bros./New Line Cinema’s “It” came in and outperformed not only the optimistic analyst projections, but also the entire four-day revenue from last weekend with a $117.1 million opening. 

With that result, “It” narrowly beats out “Spider-Man: Homecoming” for the third-biggest opening of 2017, and more than doubles the record set by “Hannibal” for the biggest horror movie opening of all-time. With strong reception from critics and constant, positive word-of-mouth keeping the money pouring in, “It” is just the latest and greatest success story in what has been an impressive year for horror with films like “Get Out,” “Split” and “Annabelle: Creation.”

It remains to be seen whether “It” can perform as well in the coming weeks as other WB films like “Wonder Woman” and “Dunkirk” have after their openings, as horror movies tend to be front-loaded when it comes to their box office performance. But it has as good a shot to be a Halloween moneymaker, as WB and New Line have turned this remake into a must-see film thanks to a solid marketing campaign and the quality work by director Andy Muschietti and his team that capitalized on the hype. Here’s how they got there:

Also Read: Could ‘It’ Float a Franchise? Pennywise Looks Like a Smart Investment

1.) Strong trailers

The hype for “It” can be traced back to the end of March, when the first trailer for the film was released. Featuring a glimpse at director Andy Muschietti‘s spin on the infamous rain gutter scene, the trailer has been seen over 34 million times on YouTube and helped pique interest in the film in all demographics several months in advance. Over the summer, many under-performing films had either the hype or the good reviews, but not both. Like its fellow WB films “Wonder Woman” and “Dunkirk,” “It” had both. And on top of that, it had a marketing team that knew how to handle its villain… 

2.) Pennywise

In the first trailer and poster, Pennywise’s evil visage couldn’t be seen except for a few quick frames. Tim Curry’s legendary portrayal of Pennywise has become a frequent inspiration for internet memes, so naturally there was interest in how Bill Skarsgard’s version of the killer clown would look and act.

For about a month, WB and New Line kept Pennywise under wraps, obscuring his face with his signature red balloon. Then, once his character was revealed, the marketing doubled down on his new look, with posters featuring him in all his carny glory and trailers that showed him terrorizing the children in attics and sewers. By slowly teasing out the new Pennywise with intrigue and terror, WB kept the interest going through the summer months.

Also Read: ‘It’ Smashes Box Office Records With $117 Million Opening

3.) Unique marketing

On top of that, special marketing events allowed the most hardcore Stephen King fans to come face-to-face with Pennywise in a variety of ways. Foremost among these was an immersive haunted house set up on Hollywood and Vine. Meanwhile, fans not in Los Angeles could try out a virtual reality experience that took them on an intense ride inside Pennywise’s sewer pipes.

While other films like “The Mummy” have tried this marketing, “It” was able to make it work because it had the trailers and familiar adaptation material as a strong foundation to generate interest in the immersive fan experiences. Now thrill-seekers could plunge themselves deep into the same horror that filled those trailers, and that experience, in turn, generated more interest to see the film.

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4.) September is more than a “dumping ground”

It can’t be said for sure what sort of opening “It” would have had but it certainly would have helped stop the bleeding suffered by the weakest summer box office season in over a decade.

But of all the companies in Hollywood, Warner Bros. was the one stressing out the least this summer. After putting out a bomb with “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” in May, the studio has put out successful films in each of the past three months: “Wonder Woman” in June, “Dunkirk” in July and “Annabelle: Creation” in August. “Annabelle” was the sole positive result last month, making $35 million in its opening weekend — a solid result for a horror film — and is on pace to cross $100 million domestic this coming week.

With those movies continuing to bring in audiences through summer’s end, early September became the perfect release slot for “It.” While “Annabelle: Creation” was a horror movie that appealed to hardcore genre fans, “It” has crossover appeal, reaching out to moviegoers that haven’t had a must-see film on theater slates since “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Dunkirk” came out two months ago. Audience demographics have shown widespread interest in the film, with gender breakdown virtually split 50-50 while 65 percent of moviegoers were over the age of 25.

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5.) The “Stranger Things” factor

But the appeal of “It” to a wide audience — and particularly to Gen Xers — shouldn’t be surprising considering the success of last year’s big Netflix hit, “Stranger Things.” “It” certainly lends itself to comparisons to “Stranger Things,” particularly considering that the show’s star, Finn Wolfhard, also appears in this movie. “Stranger Things” creators Matt and Ross Duffer also list Stephen King’s novel as an inspiration for their show. 

But on top of the similarities between two stories about kids facing unspeakable horrors, both “It” and “Stranger Things” appeal to nostalgia for 80s pop culture. While Stephen King’s novel sees the Losers take on Pennywise in 1950s Maine, Muschietti’s version places the story in the 80s and, like “Stranger Things,” makes several cultural references to that decade. That change only further connects the story’s environment to the one many 80s kids were immersed in when they sat in terror watching Tim Curry’s Pennywise do his macabre antics on a TV miniseries that gave many young minds their first taste of R-rated intensity.

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Pennywise may be the terror of Maine, but he’s the hero of the box office, rescuing it from two weeks’ worth of record lows with an estimated opening weekend of $103 million from 4,103 screens, beating even the high projections set by independent trackers. 

At the start of the week, projections for “It” were set at $60-65 million, but quickly jumped to $80-85 million after the film earned critical praise and an 88 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The strong marketing from Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema has culminated in a huge turnout from “It,” and the R-rated horror film will likely become the fifth film of 2017 with a $100 million-plus opening despite losing hundreds of theaters due to closures forced by Hurricane Irma, which the studio estimated to account for a revenue loss of about 5 percent.

Also Read: ‘It’ Movie: 10 Most Glaring Changes From Stephen King’s Novel

On top of that, “It” is set to rack up several records this weekend. The Stephen King adaptation made an estimated $51 million on Friday, beating the September opening weekend record set by “Hotel Transylvania 2” ($48.4 million) in a single day.

“It” also set the record for the biggest opening weekend for a horror movie, and dwarfs the openings for any October release as well. The opening day total is the highest for any R-rated film, and it’s expected to score the second-highest opening weekend for an R-rated film behind only the $132.4 million made by “Deadpool” last year.

Another encouraging sign for the film is its B+ grade on CinemaScore. While lower than the A- scored by the “Conjuring” films, it’s a solid grade that could lead to strong word-of-mouth and the long-term box office that Warner’s two recent hits, “Wonder Woman” and “Dunkirk,” enjoyed this past summer.

Also Read: ‘It’ Sets Thursday Box Office Record With Monster $13.5 Million

Below “It,” it’s slim pickings for the rest of the movies in theaters as the Stephen King adaptation is estimated to account for 75 percent of total box office revenue this weekend.

By virtue of being the only other new release in a market that didn’t see any wide releases the past two weekends, Open Road’s romantic comedy “Home Again” will take second place with an estimated $8.5 million from 2,940 screens. That’s far short of the $10 million mark set by studio and independent projections, no doubt impacted by the weak 32 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating and a B on CinemaScore.

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” will take third this weekend with an estimated $4.8 million, followed by “Annabelle: Creation” with $4 million. “Wind River” completes the top five with $3.2 million.

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There were always plans for the new film “It” to get a sequel — the Stephen King adaptation tells only the first half of the story of seven kids from Derry, Maine, who do battle with the dancing clown Pennywise. 

But with “It” beating box-office expectations, analysts are already whispering one of Hollywood’s most-beloved words: Franchise. King’s 1986 novel “It” weighs in at more than 1,100 pages, and has already inspired a 1990 TV miniseries starring Tim Curry as Pennywise. The novel may have enough material to inspire more adaptations — and not just on the big screen.

One huge question mark is the upcoming Hulu series “Castle Rock,” the cast of which includes Bill Skarsgård — who plays the new Pennywise. There’s no word on who he’ll play in “Castle Rock,” but corporate synergy would seem to allow for at least the possibility of him popping up as Pennywise — Warner Bros. is distributing “It” for New Line, and Warner Bros. TV is behind “Castle Rock.” Hulu and Warner Bros. did not respond to requests for comment.

Also Read: What ‘It’ Gets Right About Being a Kid in 1989

According to an individual with inside knowledge of the movie, there has been no talk of extending the current “It” beyond a single sequel. But there should be, says Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations.

“They are going to want to explore the possibilities as soon as the movie opens to double its budget,” Bock told TheWrap. “The fact that the first cost $35 million and is going to double that just on opening weekend… it proves that horror is still the best genre in the business.”

Horror films are notorious for returning to the well again and again via origin stories, returns from the dead, and spinoffs. And Pennywise literally springs from a well.

“If you think of the way that universes work, certainly it has enough going for it in terms of the main characters and then of course tangential and prequel style storylines, or the Pennywise origin story,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at comScore, told TheWrap.

Also Read: Let’s Revisit the 1990 ‘It’ TV Miniseries: 5 Floating Facts About Pennywise and Friends

He pointed to “The Conjuring” universe — which includes the evil doll spinoff “Annabelle” — as a possible model.

“There is enough confidence in this movie itself, and that’s why the idea of a franchise strategy or spinoff strategy going forward, is natural for them to look at,” Dergarabedian said. “The Pennywise character is so compelling that when he’s not on screen, you are always wondering where he is and when he is going to show up. … Bill Skarsgard is incredible and eerily charismatic, scary and repulsive at the same time. People love that.”

Horror films are notorious for returning to the well again and again via origin stories, returns from the dead, and spinoffs. And Pennywise literally springs from a well.

Turning “It” into a franchise could also provide an ongoing revenue stream from home video after the film leaves theaters.

“Horror movies are the best movies to see in the theater because of the communal electricity when there are 100 people in the theater. But once they hit the small screen, it’s also great to watch the movie alone,” Dergarabedian said. “Horror movies are the genre that best can exploit both big and small screen equally.”

Also Read: Why Searching for ‘It’ Online Is Like Looking for Pennywise in a Sewer

Hulu likely had this in mind when signing off on “Castle Rock.” While details about the new show are being kept under wraps, we know that Scott Glenn will play Alan Pangborn, a character featured in King’s novels “The Dark Half” and “Needful Things” and the novella “The Sun Dog.”

“Castle Rock” also features other former King players, including original “Carrie” Sissy Spacek. And then there’s the Skarsgård factor.

In literature, “It” is already part of a shared universe, linked by shared locations and character references to other Stephen King works like “The Stand,” “Salem’s Lot” and his epic “Dark Tower” series. The trailer for the recent film adaptation of “The Dark Tower” had Easter-egg nods to “It,” “The Shining” and “Shawshank Redemption.”

But first things first: “It” Chapter 2. Gary Dauberman, one of the screenwriters on “It,” has closed a deal to pen part two, while producers Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee, Dan Linith, Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg will return as well. Director Andy Muschietti is also expected to return, although no official deal has been made yet.

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Stephen King’s “It” is exactly the jolt the box office needed after the worst Labor Day weekend at the box office since the Clinton administration, as the hotly anticipated horror film pulled in a whopping $13.5 million in Thursday night showings, making it the largest horror, R-rated and September pre-show result of all time, as well as the biggest Thursday preview for any of King’s adaptations.

New Line’s “It” tells the story of a group of young misfits in small-town Maine as they try to uncover the mysterious disappearance of several people over the years, leading them face-to-face with the evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). Jaeden Lieber, Finn Wolfhard and Sophia Lillis also star in the film directed by Andres Muschietti. Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman wrote the script, while Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Barbara Muschietti, Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg produced.

“It” also has a great chance to set the all-time September opening weekend record, currently held by “Hotel Transylvania 2” with $48.4 million. Studio and independent projections have the horror film making $60-65 million this weekend from 4,103 screens. Another King adaptation, Sony’s “The Dark Tower,” flopped earlier this summer. Now, “It” proves the horror maestro can still scare up a crowd, breaking “Deadpool’s” record for an R-rated Thursday preview.

Also Read: ‘It’ to Scare Away Box Office Dry Spell With Record $60 Million Opening

The film will easily bring in the highest opening weekend gross for any King movie, topping 1997’s “1408,” which opened to $20.6 million on its way to $72 million domestically, according to data from ComScore. “It” should also comfortably top the weekend box office, as it debuts after a weekend with no wide releases and only one opposite it: Open Road’s romantic comedy “Home Again,” which is projected to reel in $10 million over the weekend.

Reese Witherspoon stars as a divorced mother of two who moves with her kids back to her hometown of Los Angeles, only to have her life changed when she allows three young aspiring filmmakers to move in. Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who also wrote the movie, makes her directorial debut in the film, which also features Michael Sheen and Candice Bergen. Nancy Meyers and Erika Olde produced.

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(Note: This post contains spoilers for end of the movie “It.”)

Stephen King’s 1986 novel “It” is a huge tome that actually takes place across two distinct time periods. The story follows a group of adults who grew up in the same small Maine town, called Derry, and their memories of a monster clown called Pennywise who killed people there when they were children.

The book simultaneously unfolds the story of the adults in the present and their memories of what happened to them in the past.

The new big-screen adaptation of “It” was actually conceived to be two movies: One following the Loser’s Club as kids, and the second catching up with them 30 years later as adults.

Also Read: Every Stephen King Easter Egg in ‘The Dark Tower’ (Photos)

Modern movies with sequels in the offing often tend to include teaser scenes after or during their credits, to entice fans for the next installment. Since the second “It” film is moving forward, fans might be expecting a spooky teaser scene to get in one last good scare after the movie ends.

So should you stay in your seat after “It,” or are you free to leave the theater?

Though a title card “It: Chapter 1” appears just before the credits to let the audience know there’s more Pennywise to come, there’s no bonus scene at the bitter, bitter end. However, the filmmakers have included another tease at the very end: the sound of the evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) cackling.

The final scene in the movie shows the kids of the Loser’s Club making a blood oath to return decades later to fight the monster if it should reappear when they’re grown up.

As for “It: Chapter 2,” New Line Cinema is moving forward on its production, so it seems the adaptation will get its conclusion. Right now, though, there’s no date set for when fans can expect to have their clown phobias reignited one more time.

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What ‘It’ Gets Right About Being a Kid in 1989

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(Spoiler alert: The following contains very mild spoilers about “It,” which you should go see, because it’s great.)

One of my favorite things about “It,” the new Stephen King adaptation that comes out today, is how much it reminds me of being 14 in 1989.

The setting of the story has been shifted from the 1950s to the late 1980s, which might make some people unhappy — if they grew up in the 1950s. But for me, and I’m sure many other people who were kids in the late ’80s, the new “It” beautifully reanimates one of the strangest, scariest times of our lives.

Also Read: Why Searching for ‘It’ Online Is Like Looking for Pennywise in a Sewer

I could relate to the fat kid beaten up by a bully with a mullet, because in 1989, I was a fat kid beaten up by a bully with a mullet. I rode bikes with girls I had crushes on, and wrote them poems nowhere near as good as the one in “It.” I got in rock fights, mostly with my own brother. And I snuck into a house that, now that I think about it,  probably was haunted. Here are all the things about being a kid in 1989 that “It” gets exactly right.

1. Batman. Nothing in “It” made me feel more situated me in the summer of 1989 than the fact that the movie house in downtown Derry, the film’s setting, has “Batman” on the marquee. When I was a nerdy kid, that movie was my world. When I graduated from junior high, my mom rewarded us by driving me and my best friend (what’s up, Juan?) to the Old Town Mall to see “Batman.” (Twenty-eight years later, I know the release date was June 23, without having to Google it, because I spent so many months staring at the Bat-logo and the release date on the poster. Waiting.)

My mom and I got in a fight about something during the drive — I think involving my report card? — and I choked back tears to scream at her, “You’ve done it — ruined ‘Batman’!”

But she hadn’t, because nothing could.

2. The music. Everyone who didn’t live in the ’80s thinks they were all about synth pop. No. That was elementary school. By junior high, we listened to hip-hop (we called it rap) and metal, mostly hair bands. The kid in the Anthrax shirt? “It” nailed it. The Losers listening to Young MC’s “Bust a Move” on a boombox? Nailed it perfectly. We loved Young MC and Slick Rick and Tone Loc and Ice-T. All my friends had boomboxes then, and the most state-of-the-line junior high technology was a boombox with a dual tape deck.

Here is one of the more embarrassing sentences I can write: In 1990, I rode bikes with two girls I had crushes on to the tide pools near where we lived in San Pedro, Calif., and danced very briefly with one of them to a boombox playing Extreme’s “More Than Words,” before we got embarrassed and stopped.

That’s the vibe “It” goes for in the love triangle between Bill and Ben and Bev — and the film captures the mix of excitement and awkwardness in all its fluttering glory. 

3. Abandoned houses. I guess real estate wasn’t as valuable in 1989 as it is now? For some reason, there was a huge decaying house a few blocks away from where my family lived, and Juan and I used to sneak in and pick through the cobwebs, dust and old magazines. I wonder if it’s still there.

4. The insults. There was no more vicious insult for boys in the late ’80s — when televangelists poisoned our minds, the AIDS crisis was at its height and almost no one was out — than the F-word that rhymes with bag.

Our parents did the best they could to make us stop saying it, but we were scared and immature and uncertain of our own masculinity — because we weren’t men. Homophobia is so central to the novel “It,” which I’ve recently started reading, that it’s hard for me to remember how much homophobia is overt in the movie and how much is implied. But the book and the movie make a point every child infected by ’80s hate had to learn, or suffer from not learning: Don’t let some clown divide you. As long as anyone is a victim, no one is free.

5. The rampant violence. From what I gather, kids today don’t spend that much time outside, much less going all “Hunger Games.” Here are a few things I remember from being a kid in the late ’80s and early ’90s:

  • A classmate on the bus who showed us his gun;
  • A kid jumping out of a car to randomly chase other kids with a baseball bat, while my best friend and I (what’s up, Juan?) hid in some bushes, heard them scream and did nothing to help;
  • Rocks, so many rocks

One day at the bus stop, I asked a fellow fat kid how many sit-ups he could do. It turned out we could both do more than 60 in a minute. “Fat people are good at sit-ups,” I said. He nodded. “That’s why you’re good at them. I don’t know why I’m good at them.”

He didn’t like that. His blond mullet shimmering, he reared back for a swing at me, which I avoided by flinching backward so that, rather than connecting with my face, his fist grazed the edge of my braces — which slashed open the meat of his palm. Does it get any more Stephen King than that? Actually, yes: The next day, he smacked the hell out of me in front of a girl I liked. (What’s up, Tiffany?)

I don’t know what Taylor Swift was thinking when she named a breezy pop album “1989.” It was a pretty tough year, and “It” gets that.

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The release slate for fall 2017 is a tale of two halves. The season will start with several smaller movies looking to become sleeper hits, and then will close with several major blockbusters that could end the year with a bang. Before it kicks off, these are the seven head-to-head box office showdowns to look out for.

“mother!” vs. “American Assassin”: If its trailer and NSFW poster are any indication, Darren Aronofsky’s horror show looks like its going to be as terrifying and unforgiving a movie as one can expect. While critical acclaim could give it a boost, “American Assassin” has more crowd pleasing elements wit h “Teen Wolf” star Dylan O’Brien in the lead and a story based on Vince Flynn’s best selling Mitch Rapp novels.

“The Lego Ninjago Movie” vs. “Kingsman the Golden Circle”: Like its Lego predecessors, “Ninjago” should be a big draw for family audiences that haven’t had a film for them since “Despicable Me 3” and “The Emoji Movie.” Facing it is the R-rated “Kingsman” sequel, which will aim to turn the cult following its predecessor earned into a strong opening.

“Flatliners” vs. “American Made”:  After starring in the critically maligned “Mummy” remake this summer, Tom Cruise will star in “American Made,” which tells the true story of an an airline pilot who becomes a drug smuggler and later a DEA informant. Facing it will be Columbia’s “Flatliners,” a sequel to the 1990 cult hit about experiments that induce near-death experiences.

“Only the Brave” vs. “Geostorm” vs. “The Snowman” vs. “Boo! 2”: A quartet of wild card releases hit theaters in the third weekend of October. The one that has the best shot of a strong opening is “Boo! 2,” the latest film in Tyler Perry’s popular “Madea” series. The first “Boo!” made $28.5 million in its opening weekend.

“Jigsaw” vs. “Suburbicon”: It was only a matter of time before the “Saw” franchise came back to play another game, but after “”It,” “mother!” and “Happy Death Day” hit theaters, will audiences come back for a fourth helping from an old franchise on Halloween weekend? Against it is Oscar contender “Suburbicon,” which features — get ready — George Clooney directing Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac from a script co-written by the Coens.

Nov. 10: “Daddy’s Home 2” vs. “Murder on Orient Express” vs. “Thor: Ragnarok”: After posting the worst box office performance of his career with “The House,” Will Ferrell will try to do better with a sequel to his 2015 collab with Mark Wahlberg. Kenneth Branagh’s star-studded adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous murder mystery novel will also release this weekend, but both could fall to “Thor: Ragnarok,” which will be in its second weekend.

Dec. 22: Christmas Releases: Let’s be real. All of this weekend’s releases will be fighting for whatever scraps of moviegoers “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” leaves behind. But “Pitch Perfect 3,” the final installment in Kay Cannon’s hit musical comedy, could find a solid opening. Other movies in this group include an adaptation of the TV series, “The Six Billion Dollar Man” and Oscar contender “Downsizing,” which stars Matt Damon as a man who joins a growing group of people who shrink themselves and join miniature communities.

‘It’ Director Reveals Inspiration Behind the New Pennywise

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If Pennywise gives you the creeps and “It” hasn’t even been released yet, you’re not alone.

The Pennywise from the 1990 TV adaptation of “It” had a distinctive look, so the version that graces the screen in the 2017 film version is a bit jarring.

In an interview with The Guardian, Andy Muschietti detailed his longtime love of Stephen King’s works and how he used that to craft the upcoming movie, including how he wanted the new Pennywise — played by Bill Skarsgård — to look. His goal was to make the famous clown monster similar to what a child’s version of an evil clown might look like.

In King’s book, the young character of Bill Denbrough said, “What if this monster is eating kids because that’s what we’re told monsters do?” That passage stuck with Muschietti and is the seed that grew into his vision of Pennywise.

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“It might be a case of, ‘this character is alive as long as it’s alive in the imagination of children,’” Muschietti said. “My first sketches of the clown were very childlike. I wanted to bring that look to him because he might be made of children’s imagination.”

Muschietti was a little older than the Losers were by the time he read the novel for the first time. For the uninitiated, the Losers Club are the group of preteens that work to find Pennywise’s home in the sewers of Derry, Maine.

“I wanted to communicate the feeling of intimacy and innocence of the Losers. It wasn’t that difficult,” he said. “It’s almost like smelling; those smells that stay with you for so long.”

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Tim Curry, who played the original Pennywise, told The Guardian, “Pennywise always understood what each character was scared of, and provided it. And I could see what fun it would be to be that scary.”

To this day, Curry still gets remembered for that role. “I went out to dinner last night, and I’m currently in a wheelchair because I had a stroke five years ago. And a guy saw me and stood up and said, ‘I’ve seen the original Pennywise!’ And I said, ‘Well, good for you.’”

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