Created by: Stephen King
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Written by: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman
Produced by: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Barbara Muschietti
Other cast: Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott, Bill Skarsgård
Release date: September 8, 2017
Premiere date: September 5, 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.
NOTE: Upon its original release, the film was simply titled It for its promotional material and opening titles, while the end title referred to it as It Chapter One. Upon the release of its sequel, the film was retroactively changed to the latter title. For clarification purposes, Jaeden Martell Online has chosen to use that title elsewhere, though the film may be referred to by its original, shortened title on this page only.
Full Plot Summary
In October 1988, Bill Denbrough crafts a paper sailboat for Georgie, his six-year-old brother. Georgie sails the boat along the rainy streets of small town Derry, Maine, only to have it fall down a storm drain. As he attempts to retrieve it, Georgie sees a clown in the drain, who introduces himself as “Pennywise the Dancing Clown”. Pennywise entices Georgie to come closer, then bites his arm off and drags him into the sewer. The following summer, Bill and his friends Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stan Uris run afoul of older bully Henry Bowers and his gang. Bill, still haunted by Georgie’s disappearance, calculates that his brother’s body may have washed up in a marshy wasteland called the Barrens. He recruits his friends to investigate, believing Georgie may still be alive. Ben Hanscom, one of Bill’s new classmates, learns that the town has been plagued by unexplained tragedies and child disappearances for centuries. Targeted by Bowers’ gang, Ben flees into the Barrens and meets Bill’s group. They find the sneaker of a missing girl named Betty Ripsom, while a member of the Bowers Gang, Patrick Hockstetter, is killed by Pennywise while searching the sewers for Ben.
Beverly Marsh, a girl bullied over rumors of promiscuity, also joins the group; both Bill and Ben develop feelings for her. Later, the group befriends orphan Mike Hanlon after defending him from Bowers. Each member of the group has encountered terrifying manifestations of the same menacing clown who attacked Georgie: a headless undead boy, a sink that spews blood only children can see, a diseased and rotting leper, a disturbing painting come to life, Mike’s parents burning alive, and a frightening phantom of Georgie. Now calling themselves “The Losers Club”, they realize they are all being stalked by the same entity, which they refer to as “It”. They determine that It assumes the appearance of what they fear most, awakening every 27 years to feed on the children of Derry before returning to hibernation, and moves about by using the sewer lines, which all lead to an old stone well hidden under an abandoned house. After another attack by Pennywise, the group ventures to the house to confront It, only to be separated and terrorized. As Pennywise gloats to Bill about Georgie, the Losers regroup and Beverly impales Pennywise through the head, forcing the clown to retreat. The group flees the house and begins to splinter, with only Bill and Beverly resolute in fighting It.
Weeks later, after Beverly confronts and incapacitates her sexually abusive father, she is abducted by Pennywise. The Losers Club reassembles and travels back to the abandoned house to rescue her. Bowers, who has murdered his abusive father after being driven insane by It, attacks the group; Mike fights back and pushes Bowers down the well to his apparent death. The Losers descend into the sewers and find It’s underground lair, which contains a mountain of decayed circus props and children’s belongings, around which the bodies of It’s child victims float in mid-air. Beverly, now catatonic after being exposed to bright lights inside It’s gaping mouth, is restored to consciousness when Ben kisses her. Bill encounters Georgie, but recognizes that he is It in disguise. As Pennywise, It takes Bill hostage, offering to spare the others and go into hibernation if they let It feed on Bill. The Losers reject this, battling with It while overcoming their various fears. It is eventually defeated and retreats deeper into the sewers, with Bill declaring that It will starve during its hibernation. Finding the remnants of Georgie’s raincoat, Bill finally comes to terms with his brother’s death and is comforted by his friends.
As summer ends, Beverly informs the group of a vision she had while catatonic, where she saw them fighting It again as adults. The Losers swear a blood oath that they will return to Derry as adults if It returns. After the others make their goodbyes and disperse, Beverly and Bill discuss her leaving the next day to live with her aunt in Portland. Before she leaves, Bill reveals his feelings and they kiss.
It: Chapter One had been in ongoing development since 2009. The final film’s production can essentially be split into two ears – the Funkanaga era and the Muschietti era. Cary Fukunaga served as the production head from 2009 to 2015, with early contributions of screenwriter David Kajganich and Andy Muschietti. Fukunaga remained in some capacity of the final project due to prior screenplay contributions.
On March 12, 2009, Variety first reported that Warner Bros. Pictures would be bringing Stephen King’s novel to the big screen. David Kajganich was set to adapt King’s novel, while Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison would be producing the film. When Kajganich first learned of Warner Bros. plans to adapt King’s novel, he went after the job. Knowing that Warner Bros. was initially committed to adapting It as a single feature film, Kajganich began to attempt to try to find a structure that would accommodate the 1,138 page novel to around 120 pages, one of Warner Bros. stipulations. Kajganich had previously worked with Lin, Lee and Davison on the 2007 film The Invasion, and he knew they would both champion good storytelling and allow him the time to work out a solid first draft of the screenplay.
Kajganich was the first to speak of the remake being set in the mid-1980s for the children section and in present day for the adult section. Kajganich also mentioned that Warner Bros. wished for the adaptation to be rated R and again commenting they wished for a single film. On June 29, 2010, the screenplay was being re-written by Kajganich.
On June 7, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Cary Fukunaga was boarding the project as director and will co-write the script with Chase Palmer, while Roy Lee and Dan Lin are producing alongside Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg of KatzSmith Productions. On May 21, 2014, Warner Bros. was announced to have moved the film to its New Line Cinema division (which was primarily known for specializing in horror releases), with New Line’s Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter conducting overseer duties alongside Niija Kuykendall, the Vice President of Production at Warner Bros.
In a On December 5, 2014 interview with Vulture, Dan Lin announced that the first film will be a coming-of-age story about the children tormented by It/Pennywise, and the second will skip ahead in time as those same characters band together to continue the fight as adults. Lin also stated that Fukunaga was only committed to directing the first film, though was currently closing a deal to co-write the second. Lin concluded by adding that Stephen King had given the script his blessing.
On February 3, 2015, Fukunaga was interviewed by Slate wherein he spoke about It, while mentioning he has someone in mind for the role of Pennywise. On March 3, 2015, Fukunaga again spoke of the film, noting his goal to find the perfect actor for Pennywise. Fukunaga also revealed that he, Kajganich and Palmer had changed the names and dates in the script from what they were in the book. On May 4, 2015, it was officially announced that Will Poulter had been cast to play Pennywise, after Fukunaga was blown away by his audition. Ty Simpkins was considered to play one of The Losers’ Club members.
On May 25, 2015, it was reported that Fukunaga had dropped out as the director of It after he clashed with the studio in the wake of budget cuts by New Line. However, Fukunaga maintained that wasn’t the case, stating the he had bigger disagreements with New Line over the direction of the film in general, before mentioning that the budget and desire to make Pennywise more than just the clown were fine. King later wrote on Twitter, “The remake of IT may be dead or undead but we’ll always have Tim Curry. He’s still floating down in the sewers of Derry.”
On July 16, 2015, it was announced that Andy Muschietti was in negotiations to direct
On April 22, 2016, it was indicated that Will Poulter, who was originally tapped to portray Pennywise in Fukunaga’s version, had dropped out of the film due to scheduling conflicts owing to the delay, and that executives were meeting with new actors to portray the antagonist. On April 22, 2016, New Line Cinema tentatively set the film for a release of September 8, 2017.
On October 30, 2015, Muschietti was interviewed by Variety wherein he spoke about his vision of It, while mentioning Poulter was still in the mix for the role of Pennywise, and would be at the top of his list. He confirmed that next summer was the goal to begin shooting. It was decided to shoot
On May 5, 2016, in an interview with Collider, David Kajganich expressed uncertainty as to whether drafts of his original screenplay would be used by Dauberman and Muschietti, and joked he wouldn’t know until the finished film came out.
On June 2, 2016, Jaeden Lieberher was confirmed to be portraying lead protagonist, Bill Denbrough. On June 2, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Bill Skarsgård was in final negotiations to star as Pennywise, and that the film would also include Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs and Jeremy Ray Taylor. On June 2, 2016, there was a call for 100 background performers, with the background actor call going from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.; by 4 p.m., more than 300 people had gone through. The casting call additionally asked for a marching band and period cars between 1970 and 1989.
On February 18, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Owen Teague was set to portray Patrick Hocksetter. On June 21, 2016, it was officially announced that Nicholas Hamilton had been cast to play Henry Bowers. On June 21, 2016, Bloody Disgusting reported that character performer Javier Botet, a frequent Muschietti collaborator, was added to the cast shortly before filming commenced. On June 22, 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that Muschietti had chosen actress Sophia Lillis to portray Beverly Marsh, the lone female in the Losers club. On June 24, 2016, Moviepilot reported that Stephen Bogaert was added to the cast shortly before filming commenced as Al Marsh, the abusive father of Beverly Marsh.
On July 22, 2016, Barbara Muschietti was interviewed by Northumberland News’ Karen Longwell, wherein she spoke about the beauty of Port Hope, Ontario being one of the reasons as to why it was chosen. Barbara Muschietti also mentioned that 360 extras from the area, from adults to tiny kids, had been involved.
On February 9, 2017, during a press day for The Lego Batman Movie, Lin confirmed that they were hoping for
In an interview with French magazine Mad Movies on July 12, 2007, Andy Muschietti spoke of developing an R-rated film, which allowed him to go into very adult themes and was championed from the people at New Line Cinema.
Production designer Mara LePere-Schloop went to Bangor, Maine, to scope out locations including the Thomas Hill Standpipe, the land running alongside the Kenduskeag Stream that in
Principal photography was confirmed to have begun in Toronto, with an original shooting schedule intended from June 27 to September 6, 2016. On July 8, 2016, Port Hope had undergone a number of changes to transform it into Derry. Port Hope Municipal Hall had ben transformed into Derry Public Library; the Port Hope Tourism Centre is now a City of Derry office; Ganaraska Financial is now Montgomery Financial; Gould’s Shoes store front on Walton Street had been changed into a butcher shop; the Avanti Hair Design store front was changed to Tony’s Barber Shop; an empty storefront at 36 Walton Street was changed to Reliance Cleaners; the Queen Street Tattoo store front had been changed to Derry Scoop (an ice cream parlour in the film); a statue of Paul Bunyan was erected in Memorial Park; US flags now hang in place of Canadian flags downtown; and Port Hope Capitol Theatre had appeared to be showing the 1989 films Batman and Lethal Weapon 2, confirming the film’s setting of 1989.
On July 11, 2016, preliminary shooting took place in Port Hope Town Hall, Memorial Park cenotaph, Queen Street between Walton and Robertson streets, and the Capitol Theatre. On July 12, 2016, filming occurred between the intersection of Mill and Walton street, Walton Street bridge, and between 16–22 Walton Street and Port Hope Town Hall. Other shooting locations included Queen Street between Walton and Roberston street, and Memorial Park on July 13. It was also reported, on July 14 that filming had been set up on the alley between Gould’s Shoe’s and Avanti Hair Design, and John and Hayward streets. On July 15, 2016, filming occurred on Cavan Street between Highland Drive and Ravine Drive, and Victoria Street South between Trafalgar Street and Sullivan Street. Filming in Port Hope ended on July 18, at Watson’s Guardian Drugs.
Oshawa had been chosen by producers of
On July 18, 2016, production crews had arrived in Riverdale, Toronto,[ with filming beginning at 450 Pape Ave, which is home to a 1902 heritage-designated building called Cranfield House. Filming concluded at this location on August 19, 2016. On September 4, it was reported that filming had wrapped its shooting in Oshawa, with principal photography was confirmed to have ended in Toronto on September 21, 2016, though post-production had begun a week earlier on September 14, 2016.
With It playing in 4,103 theaters, it set the record for most venues for an R-rated film, as well as the record for the largest opening for an R-rated horror movie. The film made $13.5 million from Thursday night previews, setting the record for highest amount for an R-rated film, an R-rated horror film, a September release, as well as the biggest Thursday preview for any of King’s adaptations. The film opened to $51 million on its first day, breaking previous records for the highest-opening R-rated, non-sequel horror film, and the highest-opening Stephen King movie . The $51 million also gave
Other records set by the film include the largest opening weekend for an R-rated horror film, the biggest theatrical debut in horror movie history, the biggest non-holiday/long weekend R-rated debut of all time, the cheapest movie ever to top $100 million in its debut weekend, becoming the second-biggest debut for an R-rated film, the biggest opening for an R-rated movie based upon a book, and the third-highest opening of 2017, while becoming just the second film with a budget under $40 million to enter the biggest openers list.
Variety noted that the film’s opening weekend could have been even greater if not for Hurricane Irma shutting down nearly 50% of Florida’s theaters, a state that typically accounts for 5% of the country’s box office grosses. The film broke the record for the highest Monday that the month of September has ever seen with $8.8 million, the biggest Monday ever for an R-rated horror and/or scary movie, the highest Tuesday that the month of September has ever seen with $11.4 million, the highest Tuesday for a horror film, and the second-biggest single Tuesday for an R-rated horror film.
The film went on to bring in $7.9 million to attain the biggest Wednesday in September history and the biggest Wednesday for an R-rated horror movie, while becoming the record holder for any horror film on a Thursday in September with $7.2 million.
The film became the highest-grossing Stephen King horror film ever in North America and worldwide, even adjusted for inflation.
In its third weekend,
It received critical praise for its performances, direction, screenplay, cinematography, and musical score. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds an approval rating of 86%.
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