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NEW YORK — The Stephen King adaptation "It" continued to scare up record ticket sales, taking in an estimated $60 million in its second week and leaving a paltry $7.5 million for Darren Aronofsky's audacious genre-bending psychological thriller, "mother!"
New Line and Warner Bros.' "It" easily remained the top draw in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday. It slid by 51 percent from last week's unexpectedly sensational opening of $123 million, the first September release to make its debut north of $100 million. Most analysts had expected "It" to open to about half that.
With $218.7 million to date, "It" is now the highest-grossing September release ever and a much-needed hit to follow a summer box office that slumped to a historically bad August. "It," starring Bill Skarsgard as the evil clown Pennywise, also added $60.3 million internationally.
Paramount Pictures' "mother!" has horror elements, too, so it was risky to schedule it right behind "It." But Aronofsky's film is a more art-house proposition, made for about $30 million. For star Jennifer Lawrence, it's the worst wide-release opening of her career.
Reviews were generally good (68 percent "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes) for "mother!," which premiered last week at the Venice Film Festival. But the film — an intense, allegorical tale about a woman (Lawrence) whose rural Victorian house is overrun by unwanted house guests — is an undeniably atypical, auteur-driven studio release. Audiences didn't care for it, giving it a seldom-seen F CinemaScore.
"Admittedly, there are audiences who aren't responding as favorably, but I think it's one of those movies that's so different and so audacious," said Kyle Davies, president of domestic distribution for Paramount. "Darren's one of the most dynamic filmmakers out there today. So the movie is really getting a strong reaction, and I think it takes people a while to process the movie."
Aronofsky, the filmmaker behind "Black Swan" and "The Wrestler," previously directed the 2014 Paramount release "Noah." The Bible epic sailed through controversy to make $362.6 million worldwide.
The counterterrorism thriller "American Assassin," from Lionsgate and CBS Films, edged out "mother!" for second place, with $14.8 million. That was a solid result for the film, which stars Dylan O'Brien and Michael Keaton.
In limited release, the Mike White-directed comedy "Brad's Status," starring Ben Stiller, opened in four theaters with a good per-screen average of $25,045. Annapurna will expand the film in coming weeks.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
- "It," $60 million ($60.3 million international).
- "American Assassin," $14.8 million ($6.2 million international).
- "mother!" $7.5 million ($6 million international).
- "Home Again," $5.3 million.
- "The Hitman's Bodyguard," $3.6 million ($4.1 million international).
- "Annabelle: Creation," $2.6 million ($4.1. million international).
- "Wind River," $2.5 million ($1 million international).
- "Leap!" $2.1 million.
- "Spider-Man: Homecoming," $1.9 million ($15.1 million international).
- "Dunkirk," $1.3 million ($5.7 million international).