Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Heads for $90M U.S. Bow After $37.4M Friday

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The R-rated pic hopes to land the second best launch for a horror pic behind the first 'It,' not adjusted for inflation.

New Line's It: Chapter 2 is now on course to earn $90 million or more in its domestic debut, in line with what the studio had predicted but on the low end of industry expectations. Either way, it's one of the best starts ever for a horror pic and a needed win for the box office after a tough August.

Anything thing over $90 million would mark the second-best opening ever for the genre behind It, which scored a record-shattering debut of $123.4 million over the same weekend in 2017, not adjusted for inflation. (Some box office analysts thought the sequel had a shot at $100 million-plus.)

The sequel earned an estimated $37.4 million on Friday, compared to $50.4 million for the first It. The $37.4 million include $10.5 million in Thursday night previews.

 It: Chapter Two is playing in a total of 4,570 theaters, the widest location count ever for the month of September.

Overseas, the film is off to a strong start, grossing $16.5 million on Wednesday and Thursday. In several markets, including Russia ($2.1 million), it scored the top start of all time for a horror film.

New Line and parent studio Warner Bros. could use a hit after a tough summer at the box office, capped by box office misses The Kitchen and Blinded by the Light.

Andy Muschietti returns to direct the conclusion of his adaptation of Stephen King's classic novel. The follow-up — starring Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa and Bill Hader — features the adult incarnations of the kids who battled the creepy clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) 27 years earlier.

It: Chapter 2 currently has a 67 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 86 percent for the first film (audiences were more forgiving in bestowing the sequel with a B+ CinemaSocre, the same grade that the 2017 film received). Another wild card in addition to divided reviews is the movie's running time of two hours and 49 minutes — 35 minutes longer than the first film.

The film is dominating the box office, with no other studio film daring to open against it. One highlight: Universal's Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw crossed the $700 million mark at the global box office on Friday.

Sept 6, 1:30 p.m.: Updated with additional grosses.
Sept. 7, 7:30 a.m.: Updated with CinemaScore and revised estimates.