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No ‘It’ factor among the new box-office releases

UPDATED: Sun., Sept. 17, 2017

Bill Skarsgard in a scene from “It.” (Brooke Palmer / Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Bill Skarsgard in a scene from “It.” (Brooke Palmer / Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Pictures)
By Sonaiya Kelley Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – “It” does it again.

Despite dropping 51 percent in earnings in its second weekend in theaters, the Warner Bros.’ Stephen King adaptation kept the top spot in this week’s box office charts, surpassing analysts’ projections of $55 million by an estimated $5 million for a to-date total of $218.7 million in the U.S. and Canada.

The $35 million film about Pennywise the Dancing Clown who terrorizes kids in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, crushed records for the biggest September opening and the largest launch for a horror film ever. Directed by Andy Muschietti and starring Bill Skarsgard (“Hemlock Grove”), who puts his own demonic spin on the killer clown role originally brought to life by Tim Curry in a 1990 TV miniseries, “It” boasts a B-plus rating on CinemaScore and an 85 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Newcomer “American Assassin,” directed by Michael Cuesta and released by Lionsgate and CBS Films, debuted at No. 2 and brought in an estimated $14.8 million, in the range of analysts’ expectations of $10 million to $15 million. The R-rated action film, about a man (Dylan O’Brien) who becomes a special operative after his girlfriend is killed in a terrorist attack, earned mixed reviews on CinemaScore (B-plus) and Rotten Tomatoes (35 percent “rotten”). Michael Keaton and Sanaa Lathan also star.

Paramount’s psychological thriller “mother!” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem came in at No. 3 on the charts, earning just $7.5 million, below analysts’ projections of at least $10 million. Directed by Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan” and “The Wrestler”), the film about a couple whose lives are thrown into chaos when unexpected visitors come into their secluded home earned an unprecedented F-rating on CinemaScore and a 68 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Reese Witherspoon-led “Home Again,” distributed by Open Road Films, came in fourth, adding $5.3 million in its second weekend for a cumulative $17.1 million. The romantic comedy, which stars Witherspoon as a single mom in Los Angeles who lets three young guys move in with her, earned a B-rating on CinemaScore and a 31 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also stars Candice Bergen and Michael Sheen and is directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer.

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” from Lionsgate fell two spots since last week to No. 5 after previously enjoying three weeks in the top spot. “Hitman,” starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, added $3.5 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative total of $70.3 million. The film has a B-plus rating on CinemaScore and a 37 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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