‘IT’ Unseats ‘The Exorcist’ as the Highest-Grossing Horror Film of All Time
Two little letters, a bunch of scares, and a ton of record-breaking. Besides being the most difficult movie of the year to refer to, IT continues to add more accolades to its resume and break one box office record after another.
The Stephen King adaptation – I will do whatever I can to avoid referring to it as IT because it’s just.. confusing, init? – has been busy scooping up box office accolades as quickly as Pennywise scoops up cute innocent kiddies. The film had the biggest opening ever for a horror movie, unseated Deadpool as the highest-grossing R-rated Thursday night preview, became the lowest-budgeted film to gross over $100 million in opening weekend, and then the biggest September release in history. But nope, that wasn’t enough and Pennywise needed more trophies to put on his clown mantel. Move over, demonic spirits; IT is on track to unseat The Exorcist as the highest-grossing horror movie of all time.
Update: It’s official, the King adaptation has surpassed The Exorcist. As of today, IT has become the highest-grossing horror movie domestically, according to Variety – the William Friedkin film still holds the international record ($441.3 million globally compared to IT‘s $404.3 million). The 1973 horror classic previously held the record with a (domestic) lifetime gross of $232.9 million. As of Wednesday, IT sat at a pretty $228.4 million, and Deadline projected that the King adaptation was expected to pass The Exorcist‘s record on Thursday, and it sure did. IT has grossed a whopping $236.3 stateside, as of today.
But wait, you might be thinking about a couple other scary movies that have already topped the possession classic. The Sixth Sense sits at $293 million, while Jaws has a lifetime gross of $260 million. But it all comes down to genre specifications, and the latter two are considered (at least by Warner Bros.) more horror-thriller hybrids than straight horror. Genre distinctions won’t matter anyway by the end of the weekend; Deadline expects IT to earn roughly $30 million in its third weekend, and by Sunday, the movie is anticipated to have a total domestic gross of roughly $270 million.
But that’s not all, Pennywise will slurp up a record previously held by Alfonso Cuaron. IT is also expected to surpass Gravity ($274 million) as October’s highest-grossing movie domestically. That means IT will hold the record as the biggest moneymaker released between Labor Day weekend and the beginning of November. The movies may have had their worst summer at the box in over a decade, but IT is set on claiming all the leftover dollars you didn’t spend at the theater this summer.