‘IT’ Could Change The Landscape Of Modern Mainstream Horror Movies
*Just a heads up, there will be NO SPOILERS for ‘IT’ in this blog*
Over the past few years, I’ve become more and more enthralled with horror movies. Pretty much since my balls dropped. Growing up, I did that classic thing where I acted like they were all shitty, cheap, jump scare movies that I wasn’t interested in wasting my time on. In reality, I was just a pussy who woulda shit my pants if I caught even a glimpse of a slasher film. Now I dig em because I’m a brave boy who has learned to hold his bowels in.
In following the movie scene, I’ve heard a ton about this new IT movie in the months leading up to it’s release. People behind the scenes were saying it’s the best horror film of our generation, there was buzz about the kids in the cast not seeing Pennywise the Clown until they were on camera, and then the trailer dropped, and I knew this was an opening weekend movie for me. That’s pretty rare for me these days, because one of the few (minuscule) cons of this job is you can’t really just disconnect from the internet for 2-3 hours at a time, so going to the movies went from a once a week to once a month if I’m lucky. I hit up some friends after the Thursday night preview showings got rave reviews, and said let’s go see this fuckin’ clown movie tomorrow. All one of them said no, so I went by myself in a Trent-esque move.
I got let into my 9:40pm showing of the flick at about 10:20pm, because we all had to wait for someone who had a heart attack in another theater to be carted out on a stretcher. Hoping that girl is okay, but I’d be lying if her heart attack didn’t make me way more excited for the movie. Another thing that made me very excited was that I was the only caucasian in line. Annnnd the fact that the little twerp checking tickets gave me the most thorough ID check of all time. He was NOT letting a kid into this movie that’s killing people left and right. The stars just all aligned for me to enjoy the fuck out of this movie, and I did!
I’ve never seen the full original adaptation of Stephen King’s classic book, the 1990 TV movie one, only bits and pieces, but I guarantee you this one was a billion times better. The cast of kids (Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff) is right alongside The Sandlot and The Goonies as far as group performances go. Also look at the names of those kids. Gen X is wild, but I digress. Bill Skarsgård’s performance as Pennywise will go down as one of the most iconic horror villain roles ever, much to the help of the makeup and CGI team. There wasn’t a single moment where I was pulled out of the movie, and that was a nearly impossible task to accomplish. This movie has such drastic tonal shifts throughout between horror, comedy, and drama, with a coming of age tale about friendship intertwined over the two hours and fifteen minutes that flew by. The scares are scary, the jokes are funny (hysterical really), and the emotional scenes tug at your heartstrings as well as any movie this year. The highlight of my weekend was actually during one of the Pennywise jump scares, when the teenage girl sitting next to me grabbed my (big) arm and said, “I’m sorry, but I woulda been wildin’ on dat n*gga’s ass” loud enough for the whole theater to hear.
Now, in regards to my headline on this blog, I believe IT can change the landscape of modern mainstream horror movies, with a little help from Get Out. The current trend in Hollywood is to make mindless low-budget horror movies with enough jump scares for a decent trailer. Then they dump a few million dollars into marketing, and viola, RIDICULOUS profit. It’s a formula that works over and over and over, with no signs of slowing down. One Reddit user pointed out that Blumhouse Productions has it down to a science. I mean, look at this shit:
These movies are largely unwatchable, but because the whole production of them is based on compelling trailers, they put asses in seats…for opening weekend, and opening weekend only. Another trend among these movies is a massive box office drop-off after the Rotten Tomatoes score along with word of mouth reassures everyone they didn’t miss much. Almost 90% of revenue made on these movies is from the first 3-4 days they’re out. When you put a little thought behind a horror screenplay, though, the audience responds, and the profits skyrocket way beyond your run of the mill horror flick. This year provided us with three great examples:
-Get Out (Budget $5mil, Box Office $252mil)
-Split (Budget $9mil, Box Office $276mil)
-IT (Budget $35mil, Box Office $189mil)*
*So far. This movie has only been in theaters 4 days and won’t have a bad drop off.
Marketing budget isn’t included in those numbers, but it’s usually around the production budget, sometimes double or triple it, but these would be profitable movies even if the marketing budget was quadruple the production.
Now we sit back and see if the studios take notice of this, and start putting effort back into the genre. SPOILERS, they will take notice, because there’s too much money involved not to…except for Universal, who are insisting they bring back their Monsters with $125mil shitty Tom Cruise movies.
(Although that flick made like $400mil worldwide despite it’s $80mil flop in the US)
Go see IT if you haven’t already. I’ll probably hit it again in theaters I enjoyed it so much.