IT Still a Hit

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It little boy peering into storm grate

After a second-straight week at the top of the box office, one thing should be abundantly clear: IT ain’t clowning around.

The high-grossing (and kind of gross) horror flick scared the willickers out of its competition and officially became the largest September release ever. IT dragged an estimated $60 million into the sewers. That pushes its total haul to $218.7 million—making it already the year’s eighth highest-earning flick. Now we know why Pennywise’s victims float down there: They’re using all that currency as flotation devices.

IT’s continued strength turned the weekend’s strongest newcomer, American Assassin, into an afterthought. The film earned $14.8 million—about a quarter of what IT earned—to slide into second place.

In a woefully disappointing debut, director Darren Aronofsky’s annoyingly punctuated mother! landed in third place. It’s almost as if the movie-making public stepped on a collective crack, breaking the film’s back from the get-go.

Keep in mind that Aronofsky’s last two features, Black Swan and Noah, both topped $100 million in North America, and his latest film stars America’s Oscar-winning darling (and Aronofsky’ main squeeze), Jennifer Lawrence. And many critics sort of liked this freaky, metaphorical horror show: It currently holds a 69% “freshness” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

But the film also felt like a guns-blazing frontal attack on Christianity, and Plugged In’s own Adam Holz hated the thing. Most of America seemed to agree with him: Folks who saw mother! gave the film an F, according to CinemaScore—only the 19th movie to earn the infamous rating. (We’d list the others, but you probably haven’t heard of most of them.)

All this to say that mother! may be the mother of all misfires. It earned a woeful $7.5 million to finish third.

Home Again fell from second place to fourth, taking home $5.3 million. The Hitman’s Bodyguard closed out the top five with a $3.6 million weekend.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 3 months ago
By CbinJ
I'd never watch mother! based on the fact I don't like graphic volience, horror, and, R-rated movies (the exceptions being The King's Speech and Shakespeare in Love which are easily edited with a FF button). Also, from what I've read, it seems like a chaotic mess generally. There was, however, one Christian/conservative commentator who had an interesting take. He said that he found the movie to be profoundly Christian--if you looked at it in a Paradise Lost sort way--where Jennifer Lawrence plays a sympathetic Satan character and the people around her representing a fallen human race. I've no idea what that would mean in practice except that it seems to be a very artistic and interpretive film. Though, I will say that I am sure the intentions of the Aronofsky were more about "Mother Earth" and global warming, especially given Noah's themes. That would also explain Jen Lawrence's recent outbursts on the subject while stumping for the film.
By CbinJ
charitysplace 3 months ago
I'd actually be interested in the director's thoughts on what mother! represents, since you interpreted it as an attack on Christianity -- when Jennifer Lawrence said in an interview that she's representative of Mother Earth, which I assume makes it into a metaphor about mortals ravaging and destroying Mother Earth and her offspring in their debauched, self-serving pagan state.
Evan Weisensel 3 months ago
Yeah, from what I read about mother! and how it was executed, It could be interpreted in so many different ways that the director could see it completely differently than how a reviewer sees it.

But that's art for you, everyone's gonna have their own opinion and interpretation of something whether you wanted them to or not.
charitysplace 3 months ago
Most people see the world through a subjective filter of what matters to them, rather than what the true intention is -- so a Christian might see it as anti-Christian, and an environmentalist might see it as an environmentalist message. Your interpretation reveals what matters to you and your own thought process, more than the artist's intentions.
Andrew Gilbertson 3 months ago
Although the actual trappings of Christian ceremony and specific worship in the followers seem to remove some of that claim of ambiguity a bit; the method of execution does reveal some of the thought process. No one's cutting down pats of the author's house to build into product or running huge SUVs to cloud its air or engaging in rituals that release too much carbon into the air; thematically, there isn't really a global warming equivalent, and the author's actions aren't really consistent with an environmental parable (who is he in that case? Big business, comforting... industry?). In terms of a twisted straw-man of Christianity, the roles fit. In terms of an environmental fable, the roles are murky and clouded in Christian symbolism. The environmental allegory theory seems to fail the 'if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck' test.

Honestly 'it can be interpreted a number of different ways' can also just be a smoke screen that Aronofsky employs to avoid taking responsibility for the themes. It's easy to produce a work specifically targeting some group, then say "It's whatever you read into it," then discount anyone who objects to the blatantly obvious intent as simply reading into it based on their circumstances; the entertainment equivalent of 'plausible deniability.'
Andrew Gilbertson 3 months ago
Perhaps I should add; based on the synopsis I read, I don't see the environmental themes. How would you read them into the plot of the movie?
charitysplace 3 months ago
I really don't know much about it, other than quotes from those involved:

Jennifer Lawrence: "The movie was called Day Six [on set]: it could be about the creation and the end of the universe. You have the creation of man and women and then the corruption of man and woman and then overpopulation and creation of religion and so on and so forth. [Darren] is stripping out all nationality away from everyone - if something happens on the other side of the world, you don't care. If it happens to your neighbor's house, you care. If someone puts out a cigarette on your carpet, that matters to you. So what he's saying is this is the entire world, this is our one earth. This is all our sink. So stop bouncing on it!"

The director: "Lawrence is Gaia, or Mother Earth, while her house represents the world, a living, breathing organism being destroyed by its inhabitants. Her husband, known as "Him" in the film, is God. Out of boredom, he creates Adam and Eve (the couple), who proceed to destroy both Gaia's creation and His study (the Garden of Eden), which holds God's perfect crystal (the apple). Their dueling sons are Cain and Abel. They also bring worshippers to praise God, who keep sitting on Mother's unsupported sink, and eventually, cause the pipes to burst into the Great Flood. God impregnates Mother, who gives birth to the Messiah, a chaotic sequence followed by a disquieting communion and Revelations. "[It's about] taking a piece of a world and confining it to a space and making it a conversation about society, lined up with a personal human story... [Mother Earth has] given us life on this planet. All she does is give us life. We also see nature's wrath in the scene when Mother is attacking the crowd. The allegory is, here are these incredible infinite resources given to us and we abuse it all. We don't follow lessons from kindergarten to clean up your own mess. We are empathizing with Mother Nature, feeling her pain and her wrath.""

Sounds like it is a criticism of the destruction of violent organized religions (which includes the Crusades, the Inquisition, and numerous other offenses throughout history -- and not just in Christianity). I suppose one could even argue that the child they 'eat/consume' is how carelessly people respond[ed] to and killed Christ.

*shrug*
Evan Weisensel 3 months ago
Well said, my dude.
bobed 3 months ago
It's a complex situation. I could applaud audiences for rejecting the demonic, Christ-bashing Mother, but instead they flocked to IT, which isn't much better at all, and perhaps even more overtly demonic. The state of moviegoing today is a crying shame.
Anonymous 3 months ago
mother! is way worst then IT. IT may have been "demonic", but nothing in that movie compared to the outright attack on everything Christian in mother!
Evan Weisensel 3 months ago
During these dark times in cinema, it is wise to remember this great advice from the great monk, Toa Tahu, when it comes to bad movies like mother! or whatever crime against cinema PureFlix puts out next.

Here it is, follow it with all your heart!

Put out your arms and shake your head
Roll back your eyes just like you're dead
One hand hip, other hand hip
Take two steps and triple front flip
Take off your legs but keep your pants on
Then take off your head and throw it at your mom
Now that you're lighter, do a push-up
And out of your neck hole, quack like a duck
Lie on the ground and just stay put
And wait 'til a human steps on you and hurts their foot
Here comes the chorus then I'll show you soon
How to do the rest of the Dance of Doom


Dance
Doom
Dance of Doom
Dance
Dance of Doom


Now bend your arm then bend it back
You're doing it wrong if you don't hear it crack
Right side down, left side down
Just a little lower, now you're underground
Remove some ribs so you can kick your own face
Roll down some stairs, then take a lunch break
{Smooth Jazz Lunch Break Interlude}
Punch punch kick, punch punch kick
Spin forty times and land in the splits
Now it's time for a corndog sword fight
You're doing it wrong if that feels right
Replace your scalp with snakes
Or really any piece that Lego makes
Juggle with some boulders
While you crowd surf on skeleton soldiers
Now clap your hands
Then squeeze your pituitary gland
You'll grow a little bigger pretty quickly
And destroy the dance floor, literally


Dance
Doom
Dance of Doom
Dance
Dance of Doom


Plastic ninjas in your room
They're all doing the Dance of Doom
Plastic ninjas in your room
They're all doing the Dance of Doom
Plastic ninjas in your room
They're all doing the Dance of Doom
Plastic ninjas in your room
They're all doing the Dance of Doom


Dance of Doom
Dance of Doom
Dance of Doom
Doom
Dance of Doom
Doom
Dance of Doom
Dance
Dance of Doom


I'm really hyped for the Ninjago Movie if you couldn't tell! ;)


Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

A monk who fights evil with fire who's singing about plastic ninjas?

Too much Lego geekism at once, bro.
Evan Weisensel 3 months ago
No such thing!

Also, not just a Monk who fights evil with fire, but a Biomechanical ROBOT monk who fights evil with fire! ;)
bobed 3 months ago
Here's your little cycle that you go through, Evan. I post, instigating a pretty serious discussion. Someone else responds to me, on topic. Perfect so far. Then you come in and, as is your habit, randomly and mockingly post some childish song, which has nothing to do with anything, to get everyone off topic. It is as annoying as h-e-double hockey sticks. 

I think it's clear who's the antagonist here. Please stop doing this. You can't gang up on me and accuse me of being immature and rude when YOU are those exact things multiplied by a thousand.
charitysplace 3 months ago
If you ignore irritating people, bobed, they fail to get a rise out of you and go away because they're not getting the reaction they want. Just ignore the song lyrics. :P
bobed 3 months ago
From reading the plot summary I am not certain that Mother had a whole ton to do with Christianity. Sure, it apes Cain and Abel, and perhaps it also mocks the transubstantiation (which is a serious blasphemy), but other than that I think the real story here is about environmentalism, not Christ. I do agree that the movie openly mocks God - at least, whichever interpretation of God that Darren Aronofsky is trying to mock. 

All that being said, I do not entirely agree with you that IT is necessarily worse than Mother. 

Mother includes horrific violence and brutality - so does IT, only with a healthy dose of violence and sexuality (from the mouths of babes, no less!). In fact, IT seems to include a little more foul language and sexual content than Mother does - made worse, in fact, by the fact that IT's vulgar content is all being generated by children. One movie includes horrific non-stop violence, open mocking of God and glorifying of pagan beliefs and the ritualistic, symbolic sacrifice of an infant, while the other movie includes horrific non-stop violence, a demon hunting children and ripping their limbs off, as well as a constant bevy of violence and vulgar language coming from, and directed at, a bunch of kids under 14.

Having typed all that, I'm not sure we can say that either movie is "worse" than the other. Or more demonic. They are equally horrible, and other than discussing them in a Christian context, we must not give them a moment of our time or money.