Not clowning around, 'It' again dominates box office

RECORD-SETTING horror film It continued its winning ways over the weekend, accounting for nearly three times the combined ticket sales of the next two films in North American theatres, industry websites reported Sunday.

The Warner Bros. film, based on a Stephen King novel and starring Bill Skarsgard as a creepy clown who terrorizes a sleepy Maine town, earned an estimated US$60 million for the three-day weekend, bringing its domestic total to US$218.7 million in only two weeks, website Exhibitor Relations reported.

Trailing far behind were two new releases, American Assassin from CBS Films/Lionsgate, at US$14.8 million, and mother! from Paramount, which registered just US$7.5 million in ticket sales despite the star power of Jennifer Lawrence.

Assassin stars Dylan O'Brien as a CIA "black ops" recruit who teams with crusty veteran agent Michael Keaton to try to prevent terrorists from starting a war.

Paramount's mother! earned a dubious distinction: the lowest opening gross for a Jennifer Lawrence film in wide release. A psychological thriller from Darren Aronofsky, it probably suffered from going head-to-head against It.

In the film, Lawrence and husband Javier Bardem see their tranquil lives upended when strangers Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer show up at their country home. The movie drew a rare "F" from the ComScore website despite a relatively strong 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Aronofsky earned critical acclaim for earlier films including The Wrestler and Black Swan.

In fourth place was Home Again from Open Road Films, with a take of US$5.3 million. The romantic comedy stars Reese Witherspoon as a recently separated woman whose life changes when she lets three young men move in.

And in fifth was The Hitman's Bodyguard, at US$3.6 million. The action comedy stars Ryan Reynolds as a bodyguard hired to protect a notorious hitman played by Samuel L. Jackson.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

Annabelle: Creation (US$2.6 million)

Wind River (US$2.6 million)

Leap! (US$2.1 million)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (US$1.9 million)

Dunkirk (US$1.3 million) — AFP