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Is IT about to become the biggest horror movie of all time?

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The blockbusting IT is currently tearing its way through more box office records than killer clown Pennywise through hapless children.

In just shy of a fortnight the acclaimed Stephen King horror has already amassed $372 million globally, quashing its $35 million budget. The movie has posted the largest ever opening for a horror movie and the largest September opening on record.

The world, it seems, can't get enough of Pennywise – but is IT poised to become the most successful horror release of all time? Here are the classic movies it has to beat...


4. Signs

Worldwide box office: $408 million

M. Night Shyamalan's alien invasion thriller divides opinion but it also drew enormous crowds back upon its release in 2002. Audiences loved its high-concept pitch: that of an extraterrestrial movie confined to just one farm with Mel Gibson presiding over an excellent cast that also included Gladiator's Joaquin Phoenix.

Shyamalan's penchant for twist endings also got people talking and returning for repeat viewings, audiences scrutinising every aspect of the frame to see how the movie had initially got the better of them. The twist this time was arguably somewhat illogical but it still helped propel the movie to big bucks.

Even so, the movie has the world-conquering IT breathing down its neck and is now ripe for the overtaking.


3. The Exorcist

Worldwide box office: $441 million

William Friedkin's satanic classic wasn't just a horror movie; it was a worldwide sensation, opening up the world of horror to far more lucrative avenues. Suddenly studios realised that scaring audiences was big business but the real reason The Exorcist worked was because it was about more than shock value.

Away from the levitating, pea soup vomiting and spinning heads it's the story of a young girl overcome by the most chilling form of evil, underscoring its grim moments with a real sense of emotion. Enormously controversial in its themes, this was a movie people had to see and talk about.

IT performs a similar trick, centering the story around the imperilled Losers and their terrifying battle with Pennywise. The Stephen King blockbuster will have easily overhauled The Exorcist's take in a matter of days – a massive achievement given the latter's standing as a masterpiece of horror cinema.


2. Jaws

Worldwide box office: $470 million

If The Exorcist scared people away from cans of soup, Steven Spielberg's sensational adventure-horror saw a wholesale exodus from the sea.

Masterfully utilising point-of view-camerawork and John Williams' Oscar-winning score to signal the presence of the killer shark (only because the on-set prop nicknamed 'Bruce' kept malfunctioning), Spielberg's movie helped give birth to the very concept of the summer blockbuster.

Fusing horror, humour and exciting set-pieces with a summery beach setting and memorable performances it was a multiplex-filling success, drawing in massive crowds thanks to canny marketing that really emphasised the visceral, emotional sides of the story.

Is IT about to become the new Jaws of our day? It certainly looks to have the same impact on the clown industry as Jaws had on beach tourism.


1. The Sixth Sense

Worldwide box office: $672 million

Sitting way out in front is another M. Night Shyamalan masterclass, his first major success and, many would argue, still his best movie.

IT will have to muster all its forces to beat this one. Shyamalan's creepy movie was on everyone's lips at the time primarily because of that twist ending, one of the most diabolically clever in movie history and which lends layers of emotional meaning to the movie on repeat viewings.

Just how did we not spot that Bruce Willis was dead the entire time? The real beauty of The Sixth Sense lies in going back and seeing how well it all hangs together – it's really no wonder the movie was such a success with audiences.

IT currently has grossed just over half of The Sixth Sense's overall box office – but given it's reached that milestone in just under 14 days, it's highly likely we could be crowning a new horror champ come mid-autumn. Watch this space...

Planning to make another date with Pennywise? Then click here to book your tickets for IT and send us your responses @Cineworld.


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