IT hasn't even been in theaters for a week, but if the movie didn't make another dime at the box office, it would be considered a success. With a massive $123 million opening weekend domestically, the movie is already closing in on $200 million worldwide and is going to be one of the biggest horror movies ever made. So it is hard to call into question any of the decisions that director Andy Muschietti made while adapting Stephen King's beloved novel for the big screen. As it turns out, one of the decisions he considered making was to have Pennywise turn into Freddy Krueger.
Andy Muschietti recently spoke with Aint It Cool News following the successful opening weekend of IT. During the course of the conversation, the director revealed that turning Pennywise into Freddy Krueger, one of the most legendary icons in the history of horror, was on the table. But ultimately, he just felt it would be too distracting. Here's what he had to say about it.
"Obviously we considered that for a bit, but I wasn't too interested in bringing Freddy Krueger into the mix. I love the story and I love how Stephen King basically 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. It would be a natural path to try to recreate that in the '80s, but I really wasn't too crazy about bringing stuff like Freddy Krueger into the story. I thought it was a bit too meta with New Line involved in the film. 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. I think that Stephen King was open to that. When he saw the film I basically wrote a letter to him asking him for forgiveness for having taken so many licenses, especially with the many different incarnations of Pennywise. He said 'Don't worry about it. All the changes are great!'"
Since the first half of Stephen King's novel takes place in the 50s, some of what Pennywise changed into during the movie, which takes place in the 80s, was changed to suit the fears The Losers Club would have as kids of the 80s. Given that the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise got going in the 80s, it stands to reason that the kids would have a fear of Freddy Krueger. But as Andy Muschietti points out, that very well may have been a bit too meta. One thing that IT did well was manage to stay pretty grounded, despite the crazy premise. Bringing Freddy in might have damaged that.
Still, it is hard not to try and picture Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise transforming into Freddy Krueger at some point in IT. Not to mention that New Line Cinema could have easily made this happen since they're in control of the franchise rights. At the end of the day, as fun as this may have been, one has to respect that fact that Andy Muschietti did what he felt was best for the movie. It's hard to argue with results. Let's just hope he can keep it going for the IT sequel, which is a top priority for the studio now, given the success of the first movie. We do know that Steven Spielberg, on the other hand, couldn't resist the temptation to utilize Freddy, with the dream team set to return in Ready Player One.