IT is one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the fall season and the early box office numbers prove it. Hype has been building for the Stephen King adaptation for months now and all of that hype has paid off in a huge way. So much so that IT has already set a record at the box office, beating the Deadpool R-rated record for Thursday night previews. That means IT is poised for an even bigger weekend at the box office than anyone expected.

According to Deadline, director Andy Muschietti's IT brought in an unbelievably impressive $13.5 million in Thursday night preview screenings. That bests Deadpool's $12.7 million Thursday night run from last year, making IT the new record holder for the best R-rated movie ever at Thursday night box office previews. IT is also now the largest horror movie ever in terms of early previews, the largest September preview ever and by far the best for a Stephen King adaptation.

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Considering that $13.5 million wouldn't be a bad opening weekend total for many horror movies, IT is going to be an almost unfathomable success. Early box office tracking had the horror flick bringing in around $60 million during its opening weekend, which would have been more than enough to make it the biggest September weekend ever at the box office. However, with the massive Thursday previews, estimates have now elevated IT to bringing in around $90 million this weekend. Some estimates even have the movie bringing in as much as $100 million, which is more than many superhero movies make on opening weekend, which is really saying something.

This is yet another example of critical acclaim leading to box office success. Granted, IT also had a tremendous marketing campaign, but a lot of that had to do with the fact that they had a good movie to market. IT currently has a 90 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an even better 92 percent audience rating. Many studios have criticized Rotten Tomatoes in recent years, partially due to the fact that it has quite a bit of influence on moviegoers. But the trend largely seems to be that movies with low scores don't do as well and movies with high scores bring in big bucks. Such is the case with IT so far.

The summer box office was historically bad this year, so the fall movie season needs to deliver and IT is setting this season up to deliver in a big way. A possible $100 million opening weekend for an R-rated horror movie isn't just going to be the shot in the arm that the box office needs, it is going to be downright historic. It also seems to prove the somewhat obvious point that if you make a good movie, people will see it. This is good news for those who want to see the IT sequel put on the fast track because the studio is going to want to get moving and keep the hype train going for Pennywise and The Loser's Club.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott