If nothing else, It has certainly proven the point about the vastness of the spectrum of Stephen King adaptations. After all, the popularity of the author is by no means a guarantee of quality, as for every Misery or The Shining, there are several Dreamcatchers.
2017 has seen something of a Stephen King flurry across screens both big and small, though, 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, It has planted its feet firmly in the realm of success – both critically and commercially.
Muschietti’s ambitious adaptation had been in development for some time before the director climbed aboard, but once he took 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 skills behind the camera, that have now led It toward the $700 million mark at the global box office, with the pic’s current total sitting at $700.1 million at the time of writing.
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. For instance, looking at the top 10 highest grossing films of 2017 domestically, only 5 releases sit above New Line’s recent adaptation – The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman, Guardians Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This is why all eyes are now on Andy Muschietti as he begins to draw together It: Chapter Two, which will apparently bring us closer to Pennywise’s cosmic origins. Often referred to as the Eater of Worlds, King’s shape-shifting demon has been stalking the sewers of Derry for eons, though Bill Skarsgård recently teased that the 2019 sequel will bring closure for the Losers, saying:
The first movie worked so well at what it is trying to do, I think, and ultimately that is the kids’ story, and you follow these kids and you sort of fall in love with these kids. And the second one will be the adult story. And I think the right way to do it is to make that movie actively different. … I think there might be worth exploring sort of the psychological aspects of horror, but also maybe the sort of cosmological existence of this being. What is he, and where does he come from?
Pitched as a dark, psychedelic trip into the demented mind of Pennywise, It: Chapter Two has been slated for release on September 6th, 2019. Closer to home, meanwhile, It is now on Blu-ray/DVD and can be purchased on Amazon.