Pennywise holds off American Assassin at the US box office

It has still got it. Warner Bros. and New Line’s big-screen adaptation of the Stephen King horror novel is on track to gross an estimated $60 million in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, topping the box office for a second time. On the flip side, Darren Aronofsky and Jennifer Lawrence’s psychological thriller mother! is stumbling with an estimated a $7.5 million debut.

After a record-breaking bow last week, It declined just 51 percent, bringing its domestic total to an estimated $218.7 million after just 10 days in theaters. The movie is now the highest-grossing September release ever, eclipsing the $174.8 pulled in by Crocodile Dundee in 1984. It is also set to add another $60.3 million overseas, which would put its worldwide tally at $371.3 million.

Andy Muschietti (Mama) directed It, which stars Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, and Jeremy Ray Taylor as a group of unpopular kids in small-town Maine who battle an evil presence that feeds on its young victims’ greatest fears. Bill Skarsgard portrays the malevolent being in its favored form, a demonic clown named Pennywise.

Fortunes are looking less favorable for mother!, which is on pace to come in well below industry projections of about $11 million. That puts it in third place for the weekend and resets the bar as the lowest nationwide release of Lawrence’s career (displacing The House at the End of the Street and its $12.3 million five years ago).

Despite having a name director in Aronofsky and a star-studded cast — including Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer — mother! was largely rejected by audiences. They hit it with an F CinemaScore, putting it in rare company and likely hobbling word-of-mouth prospects. Critics’ reviews were not as dire but still somewhat mixed.

The film, which Aronofsky also wrote, stars Lawrence as a young woman whose tranquil life with her husband, a creatively blocked poet (Bardem), is upended by the arrival of an enigmatic couple.

Sliding between It and mother! at the No. 2 spot is another R-rated film, American Assassin. The new release, which marks Dylan O’Brien’s first time back on the big screen since his serious injury on the set of Maze Runner: The Death Cure last year, will gross about $14.8 million this weekend. It’s a solid bow for the action-thriller, about equal to that of the original John Wick (which just got a second sequel).

Directed by Michael Cuesta (Kill The Messenger), American Assassin stars O’Brien as a CIA black-ops recruit under the tutelage of a Cold War veteran (Michael Keaton). Critics were unimpressed by the film, but audiences gave it a respectable B-plus CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top five are the Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy Home Again, with an estimated $5.3 million, and the Ryan Reynolds-Samuel L. Jackson action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which an estimated $3.6 million.

According to ComScore, overall box office is down 4.9 percent year-to-date. Check out the Sept. 15-17 figures below:

1. It — $60 million
2. American Assassin — $14.8 million
3. mother! — $7.5 million
4. Home Again — $5.3 million
5. The Hitman’s Bodyguard — $3.6 million
6. Annabelle: Creation — $2.6 million
7. Wind River — $2.5 million
8. Leap! — $2.1 million
9. Spider-Man: Homecoming — $1.9 million
10. Logan Lucky — $1.3 million

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