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.