The first big screen version of It has certainly proved the point about the vastness of the spectrum of Stephen King adaptations. The popularity of the author is by no means a guarantee of quality in films based on his work and, for every Misery or The Shining, there are several Dreamcatchers. 2017 has seen something of a Stephen King movie flurry, with Gerald’s Game arriving on Netflix, and The Dark Tower and It both creeping into cinemas. While the former landed with a dull thud, however, It has planted its feet firmly in the realm of success.
Andy Muschietti’s ambitious adaptation had been in development for some time before the director climbed aboard, but once he’d taken the reins, he cast Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise – alongside child actors Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer and Wyatt Oleff. It’s surely this combination of performers, coupled with the phenomenal writing of Gary Dauberman, Cary Fukunaga and Chase Palmer, and Muschietti’s own helming skills that have now led It toward the $700 million mark in global box office.
These are just numbers without a little context, though, so it’s important to look at where that $700 million puts It within the cinematic landscape of the year. The top 10 highest grossing films of 2017, as of December 11th, consist of six superhero films, a children’s animation, a fairy tale, an action-thriller – and It. Eight of the top ten are mid-franchise entries. In this company, It is the only horror movie – and it takes fifth position – meaning that only Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2, Wonder Woman, and Beauty & The Beast have earned more.
This is why all eyes are now on Andy Muschietti as he begins to draw together It: Chapter Two. The commercial and critical success of the film builds that anticipation, and the fore-knowledge of what Chapter Two will entail brings it to a crescendo. Chapter One introduced us to The Losers Club – a group of pre-teens who find themselves having to face down an ancient evil in the small town of Derry, but Chapter Two has those children revisit the nightmare as adults – and such success with Chapter One will enable Muchietti to bring in some deeply impressive casting choices.
Which grown-ups will join The Loser Club of It when Chapter Two is released on September 6th, 2019, though? We’re watching closely for those announcements, so be sure to stay tuned.