[N.American Box Office] ‘It’ stomps ‘Mother!’ with $60 million in week two

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[N.American Box Office] ‘It’ stomps ‘Mother!’ with $60 million in week two

NEW YORK - The Stephen King adaption “It” continues 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” remained easily the top draw in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday. It slid 51 percent from last week’s unexpectedly sensational opening of $123 million, the first September release to debut north of $100 million. Most 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 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.

“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 of “Black Swan” and “The Wrestler,” previously helmed the Paramount 2014 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 starring Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton.

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