It’s so nice to be wrong sometimes. This weekend was absolutely massive at the box office, as one new release over-performed in the biggest of ways. Here’s what went down:
Stephen King’s It broke box office records this weekend, as it debut in first place with an estimated $123 million. Along with critical raves, It had the best first day showing ever for an R-rated film ($51 million), and the best ever Thursday night preview for an R-rated film ($13.5 million). It is the second-biggest R-rated opening ever, only trailing behind Deadpool’s $132.4 million record, set in 2016. It is the biggest horror story of the year, and bodes more than well for the 2019 release of It: Chapter Two of the saga.
Without It, we wouldn’t have Stranger Things, but without Stranger Things we wouldn’t have It – at least not quite the version of the film that hits theatres today. The Duffer Brothers, creators of Stranger Things, have cited both the Stephen King novel and the 1990 TV miniseries adaptation of it as major influences on their hit Netflix show – “probably the biggest,” noted Ross Duffer in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Years ago, before It helmer Andy Muschietti took over from Cary Fukunaga in 2015, the Duffers approached Warner Brothers about mounting the remake but were turned down because they weren’t considered established enough to take on King’s epic tale of children banding together to take on the evil, sewer-dwelling, child-eating clown-entity Pennywise. So the siblings created Stranger Things instead, which also features a close-knit group of small town misfit kids (one of them played by Stranger Things‘ Finn Wolfhard) facing an incredible supernatural evil.
It’s a weekend horror fans have been dreading (in a good way) for years, as one of the genre’s greatest icons gets the big screen treatment. How will it perform? No clowning around – here’s our prediction:
Thirty-one years after it arrived on bookshelves, and twenty-seven after scaring up an audience with Tim Curry and an ABS mini-series, Stephen King’s It comes to movie theatres. Anticipation is high, and reviews for the Andy Muschietti-directed film are through the roof. Bill Skarsgård stars as Pennywise the Clown, who is behind the disappearance of children throughout the town of Derry. Luckily, it appears as though the poor North American performance of The Dark Tower this past August has done nothing to dull the excitement for Stephen King or this classic horror tale. Look for It to arrive in first place with a massive $65 million.
As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. As many of you may also know, I’m the author of the book Wrapped In Plastic: Twin Peaks (ECW Press, 2015). Previously, I never would have imagined that there would be any connection between two of my greatest loves, but following last night’s conclusion of Twin Peaks: The Return, I can’t help but think about how both series confounded expectations of their followers.
Read along with me, but be advised, there will be massive spoilers for both The Dark Tower and Twin Peaks: The Return.
Last night on Showtime brought the resolution of the 18-episode limited event series, Twin Peaks: The Return. As co-written by show creators Mark Frost and David Lynch, and directed solely by Lynch himself, the series was essentially about the return of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) to the town he first visited some 25 years ago when he was tasked with investigating the murder of high school student Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).
I’m not going to get into deep analysis off the series as a whole (you can wait for the follow-up to my book), but it’s worth nothing that the real story for this remarkable piece of art Lynch and Frost created is ostensibly that of Cooper’s return to Twin Peaks, and a final confrontation with his evil doppelgänger that has roamed free for decades while Cooper himself has been trapped in the series’ supernatural meeting house, The Black Lodge. And in episode 17, that’s what Lynch and Frost deliver – moments that fans have dreamt of for 25 years themselves. Cooper, clad in his black suit and craving his cup of coffee, back in the town, surrounded by familiar faces and some new ones. The evil doppelgänger vanquished, seemingly for good. This was fan service at its finest, and for many, shutting things down with this conclusion probably would have been just fine. Read the rest of this entry
It was a lacklustre weekend at the box office, with the highest profile debut performing below even the many low expectations. Here’s what went down:
Stephen King’s The Dark Tower debut in first place at the box office with a disappointing $19.6 million (though with the number 19 significant in the novels, maybe this isn’t so bad?). Prior to reviews, estimates were that the film, which Sony hoped would be the debut of a new franchise, would hit in the mid-20’s, but the crushing reviews and fan backlash wound up giving The Dark Tower an underwhelming opening. The fact that neither of its stars can actually open a film didn’t help either. There’s just nothing good about that number, no spin that anyone can really use. The likelihood of the movie getting a cinematic sequel is virtually nil, unless it manages to perform well overseas. There is hope with the announced prequel television series, though, as many believe that tv was where this series should have been in the first place
I had really debated about not writing anything personal about The Dark Tower. I’m so close to it, as a fan, and there’s part of me that figured that if I liked it, I’d be writing to defend what showed up on screen. However, the truth is, I did like the movie. Very much, even with all of its obvious flaws. Having followed the film’s journey to the big screen, I knew very well that what would eventually arrive would be quite different from the books that left an indelible impact on me. This wasn’t going to be an obvious adaptation, verbatim. And fans, mostly those with little imagination, couldn’t accept that Roland would be portrayed by Iris Elba, regardless of his acting chops. Read the rest of this entry
Will an adaptation of a cult favourite series from one of the most popular writers on the planet be able to stave off fan skepticism and critical blows to debut at the top of the box office? Here’s our prediction:
Let’s just get this out of the way: I loved The Dark Tower books. I’m a massive Stephen King fan. I am predisposed to enjoy the film that arrives in theaters this weekend, regardless of its quality. But, realistically, this is a hard road for The Dark Tower, based on the scathing reviews its receiving and a fan base that feels let down by many of the decisions that surrounded bringing Roland and the Man in Black to life. There was so much working against this film prior to the horrible reviews, and it appears so many fears are actually being realized. Regardless of how good or bad the performances from stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are, neither actor can open a film, let alone one that was supposed to be the beginnings of a brand new franchise. While there are die-hard fans of The Dark Tower who will venture out this weekend to see the film, reviews be damned, the crossover appeal is going to be limited, and unless there’s a severe difference between critical and audience response a la Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Tower is going to underperform below even the initial light projections. Look for a first place debut with $26 million.
For me the release of The Dark Tower as a major motion picture is a countdown. I’m on the clock, literally, as I want to finish the book series before the film comes out on Friday. I don’t know if I’ll make it. While you wish me hopeless luck, meet me after the jump to find out why I’m doing it, and my re-read thoughts.
To say that reading The Dark Tower changed my life is far from an understatement. It’s a fact. I never read Lord of the Rings. I haven’t gotten into Game of Thrones. No, for me, it’s only been Roland Deschain and his quest to get to the tower that holds all worlds together.
Seven years ago, I was commuting from my home in Toronto to a crappy job about 90 minutes via subway away. What kept me going through the first few months of 2010 was reading The Dark Tower on my little Sony e-reader. While I had picked up the original trade paperback edition of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger when it was released back in 1988 (and I was just 11 years old), and read subsequent instalments including The Drawing of the Three and The Waste Lands, the wait time between novels had killed my interest in the series, and it lay unfinished. However, in that winter of 2010, I was determined to read the books I’d already started, and finish the series.
You’ll float too, in the new trailer for Stephen King’s IT, which is due in theaters September 8th. And yes, it looks damn frightening.
We have lost writer/director/actor/visionary/legend George Romero. He passed away yesterday, peacefully in his sleep, after a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer. His family was by his side, as he listened to the score to one of his favorite films, The Quiet Man. He even passed away as a class act. He was 77. Meet us after the jump for some of our memories here at Biff Bam Pop! of this amazing man.