Anticipation for the new adaptation of Stephen King’s “It” has been at a fever pitch since its teaser trailer was released this year, but the film was in development as early as 2009. Now that it’s less than a week away from hitting theaters, take a moment to brush up on the film’s long history — and find out everything you need to know before seeing it.
It had a troubled production.
Cary Fukunaga was originally set to follow “Beasts of No Nation” with his take on the classic horror novel, eventually dropping out for the same reason everyone else departs such projects: creative differences. “I was trying to make an unconventional horror film,” Fukunaga told Variety after working on the film for six years. “It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience.” He remains a credited screenwriter and was replaced by “Mama” helmer Andrés Muschietti.
The cast featured a similar (albeit less dramatic) shakeup as well. Will Poulter was originally cast as Pennywise the Clown, later being replaced by Bill Skarsgård. (According to producers, Tilda Swinton was considered as well.)
Its record-breaking trailer inspired much confidence.
The first trailer for “It” is estimated to have been viewed 197 million times(!) within 24 hours of release, scaring excited fans into a frenzy months ahead of its long-awaited theatrical release. If public opinion was ambivalent before, a consensus quickly emerged that “It” was among the most highly anticipated films of the year.
It’s expected to make beaucoup bucks at the box office.
Tracking places “It” in the $50 million range for its opening weekend, which is more than double some of this year’s underperforming would-be blockbusters. The current record-holder for a September opening is “Hotel Transylvania 2,” with $48 million. With a projected budget of somewhere between $34–45 million, that would make Muschietti’s film an instant success in a year defined by financial disappointments.
It comes with Stephen King’s seal of approval.
“Steve asked me to pass along that he saw a screening of IT today and wanted to let everybody know that they should stop worrying about it as the producers have done a wonderful job with the production,” reads a message posed to Instagram by producer Seth Grahame-Smith. That’s high praise, especially as King hasn’t been afraid to speak up when adaptations of his books have displeased him.
It’s meant to be followed by a second film set decades later.
Pennywise isn’t just a clown — he (or, rather, it) is the embodiment of evil. As such, it has certain strange habits — like only appearing in the town of Derry, Maine once every 27 years. “We’ll probably have a script for the second part in January ,” said Muschetti earlier this year. “Ideally, we would start prep in March. Part one is only about the kids. Part two is about these characters 30 years later as adults, with flashbacks to 1989 when they were kids.”
It may have inspired a wave of creepy clown sightings.
You know things are bad when an entire Wikipedia page has to be written about a series of clown sightings across the country. So many people were freaked out — a few clowns were even arrested — that New Line had to release a statement claiming that the company “is absolutely not involved in the rash of clown sightings” and wasn’t pulling a viral-marketing stunt. Clearly, the only logical conclusion is that Pennywise itself was behind all this.
It’s received high praise from those who have seen it already.
Reviews don’t drop until Tuesday, but Twitter lit up last week with early reactions from a test screening in New York. Those who’ve seen it have praised it as everything from “scary as shit” to “creepy, bloody, super funny, adorably romantic,” with special praise going to Skarsgård’s performance as the evil clown.
You’ll float too.
You’ll float too. You’ll float too! YOU’LL FLOAT TOO!