It was another weekend at the top of the box office for Pennywise the Clown and It, while Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky’s much-anticipated horror movie Mother! had a tough time connecting with audiences (to put it mildly) despite its Oscar-friendly cast.
After breaking a slew of box-office records last week, director Andy Muschietti’s It continued its strong run by adding another $60 million in U.S. theaters and increasing its worldwide earnings to more than $371 million. The adaptation of Stephen King’s popular novel of the same name is now the second-highest grossing “R”-rated horror movie of all time domestically, ranking just behind 1973’s The Exorcist after just two weeks in theaters.
Of course, this means that the second part of the two-film adaptation has some big shoes to fill when it continues the novel’s tale of childhood friends who battled a terrifying creature terrorizing their town.
Although it was initially predicted that action film American Assassin and Mother! would both compete for second place, American Assassin took second easily with a modest $14.8 million opening weekend. Mother! earned just half that total, bringing in just $7.5 million. Both films cost approximately $30 million to make, but only Assassin seems likely to cover its production costs at this point.
Critically, the second- and third-place films couldn’t have been more differently received by audiences. The explosive, secret-agent thriller American Assassin was savaged by professional critics to the tune of a 35-percent “Fresh” rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. but was received positively by general audiences, which gave it a “B+” grade on CinemaScore (which surveys ticket-buying audience members). In contrast, the allegorical exploration of the biblical creation story in Mother! earned a 69-percent “Fresh” review from critics, but was the recipient of a rare “F” grade from audience members — one of only a dozen or so films to receive such a poor grade.
Both the opening weekend ticket sales and audience grade for Mother! were the worst of all the films to star Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence that opened in wide release, and hit similar lows for many of the film’s other prominent cast members.
As for the rest of the weekend’s top ten films, returning projects filled out the final seven spots on the list.
This upcoming week features a few major releases likely to vie for the top spot. Among the contenders is the toy-based animated feature The Lego Ninjago Movie, which will probably do very well given the absence of any competition from other family-friendly films. On the flip side, “R”-rated action sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle will attempt to replicate the success of its 2015 predecessor, Kingsman: The Secret Service, which was one of that year’s surprise hits. Also hitting theaters is Boston bombing drama Stronger, as well as tennis comedy Battle of the Sexes, which dramatizes the 1973 tennis match between female tennis pro Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and former men’s champion Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).