It beats Dark Tower at box office

It.
It.PHOTO: WARNER BROS

LOS ANGELES • Cinema pundits have unmasked the reasons the evil clown killer in the movie It has scored a bigger bull's- eye than The Dark Tower's gunslinger at the box office.

The two movies, released about a month apart, are both adapted from Stephen King novels.

While The Dark Tower has earned only US$49 million (S$65.8 million) in North America so far, It, opening over the weekend, was a towering presence, smashing September box-office records with US$117.2 million.

According to the Variety trade publication, It packed a heftier punch over the other film because its plot stayed largely true to that in King's book. It did not skimp on the gore, earning an R rating, while The Dark Tower shortchanged viewers, some fans said, by opting for a PG13 rating.

It, adapted from a 1986 novel about demonic clown Pennywise, who emerges from a sewer to prey on children, had been expected by analysts to take in US$70 million over its first three days.

Instead, It arrived like a superhero movie, reported The New York Times. Actually, bigger: With no stars and a modest production budget of about US$35 million, it delivered a larger opening-weekend audience than Wonder Woman (2017).

The turnout was particularly impressive given that cities in Florida and Texas were busy preparing for a major hurricane or recovering from one.

It, which did particularly well at Imax theatres, collected an additional US$62 million overseas.

A sequel is in the works.

Horror movies have been a box-office bright spot over the past year.

As moviegoers have become more fickle - in no small part because they now have Netflix and large-screen televisions in their living rooms - the thrill of getting scared with a group of strangers in a theatre has held its power, particularly for young audiences.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2017, with the headline 'It beats Dark Tower at box office'. Print Edition | Subscribe