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Let’s Relax About ‘IT’ Being the Highest Grossing Horror Film in History…

Look, I’m super happy that New Line Cinema’s IT is blowing the lid off the box office, but let’s calm down for a second. I’m seeing reports all over the place dubbing it as the single biggest horror movie ever, and that’s just ludicrous. First of all, Jaws is a horror movie. Second, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense was a box office behemoth. Lastly, The Exorcist made a lot more money than $232.9M.

IT is killing it, yes, but inflation gives us a realistic look at what older movies would have actually made in 2017. IT quite possibly could hit $750M, which are rock star numbers, but it’s not even close to what the aforementioned films made in their lifetime.

Even if Jaws and The Sixth Sense were removed from the equation, The Exorcist is by far the highest grossing horror movie of all time. It’s a record I hope never breaks, although all records are made to be broken… No matter, IT‘s success is a win for all of us and I’m damned grateful to be experiencing it first hand.

What do you guys think?

JAWS (adjusted): $1,138,620,700 domestic / $1B+ international / $2.1+ BILLION worldwide

THE SIXTH SENSE (adjusted): $511,878,400 domestic / $600M+ international / $1.1+ BILLION worlwide

THE EXORCIST (adjusted): $983,226,600 domestic / $900M+ international / $1.8+ Billion worldwide.




  • guest

    gonna take a lot to top the exorcist.
    do a search about how theater crowds reacted to that movie. unreal.
    pennywise has a long way to go.

    • Craig Forshaw

      You won’t see similar reactions to a film these days. Well, not unless they adapt Guts by Chuck Palahniuk.

      • guest

        lol just thinking about that short story makes me prefer an exorcism.

  • Brad telling people to not get too excited about a movie… DOST MINE EYES DECEIVE ME?!

    • No, he’s merely pointing out the inflation. The box office of IT is amazing, but not as impressive as it looks on the surface.

      • Oh yeah definitely. It’s a success but it’s not the complete peak of horror success. I’m definitely curious to see what the final figure will be though

      • Craig Forshaw

        Yeah, but there is an argument that It’s popularity is more impressive, given the wide range of media it is competing against that the others didn’t have to compete with. They all existed pre-gaming properly exploding, pre-Netflix and youtube, when cinemas were more commonly found in town centers that people walked past every day rather than at isolated strip malls miles away from anywhere. It also didn’t have a bunch of Bible-thumping godbotherers encouraged to go and see it by the Pope, either, and came after decades of transgressive cinema which has left little real ground to break – The Exorcist broke a lot of ground, though it goes without saying it did this solely because it was first.

    • Saturn

      “the movie isn’t really that great” 5 Skulls!

      “this will go down historically as a game changer, one of THE great horror movies” 3 Skulls!

      (sorry Brad, we love you really!). 🙂

  • The chicken man


  • llcc1103

    It sucked. CGI studio nonsense. Oh well.

  • Jay

    Party pooper!

  • Ima Badlady

    I loved IT, but there are lots of fantastic horror films out there that deserve just as much attention.

  • Francesco Falciani

    dunno if this inflation thing is right….i mean society changed since the exorcist was released…it was the first one now we have horror movies every months or more…

  • Junkshop74

    Adjusting for inflation is a joke. The Exorcist wouldn’t get any where near that adjusted gross if it was released today. It would be just another been there done that horror movie. Same goes for pretty much every movie that came out past, say, 10 years ago. The Exorcist is great and people went crazy over it because it was unlike anything they’d ever seen before.

    • joblo

      I agree. A better way to compare this is to find out the # of tickets sold, then figure out what the BO would be based on today’s ticket prices. I absolutely love all three of these movies, but there’s no way any of them would make that kind of money today.

  • le4therfac3

    is john squires okay? 🙁

    • Craig Forshaw

      He is since he made up with Ian Brown.

  • JDelwynn

    Kinda agree on the Excorcist, but I wonder if the numbers reported in Box Office Mojo are includes all the times it was re-released or just the initial run. On the other hand all I care is how It compares to R-Rated horror movies.

  • Matheus Martins

    Does it matter which film did the best at the box office?

    The thing 1982 is a better film than It and it was a box office mess.

    • Grimphantom

      Lets think for a 2nd. If Universal hadn’t screwed up by having The Thing in a summer release, E.T. still showing in theaters and premiering at the same day as Blade Runner, i think The Thing could’ve been big at the box office if was released at a fall release like September, October or November.

    • MulderIsBack

      No it doesnt mean anything about how good a film is. Take transformers 4. Did well at box office…and i struggled to get through it. Take power rangers…didnt do well and i loved that damm movie.

  • Gary

    Adjusting a movie for inflation is just wishful thinking! No matter what a movie made back in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s, doesn’t mean shit by today’s standards. If that movie was released today, no guarantee that movie would make the same amount of money, etc…that’s like us, going back 20+ years and adjusting what we’d have made at a job, but, who’s gonna pay us the difference? NO ONE! As much as I love Jaws, The Exorcist and The Sixth Sense, what they made during their initial run is awesome! But all this inflation talk is bullshit, means nothing! Like someone coming from your past saying mines bigger than yours is! Haha

    • Bluebolt

      Yes, damn facts! This is Trump’s America so statistical evaluation is obviously irrelevant!

      That’s silly talk and I hope you realize it. The number of tickets sold is the exact measurement that needs to be used when comparing movies from the past against current movies. It should actually be taken a step further and the population difference should also be included when making these comparisons. There are a ton more people living on Earth now than during the 1970s, so the fact that the Exorcist and Jaws sold so many tickets should even be weighed more heavily when making comparisons to today’s movies. Hope I didn’t hurt your hear too much!

      • Gary

        Well, you didn’t hurt anything of mine! And you can shove Trump up your ass for all I care. Let’s say we take IT back to the 70’s, and see how many more tickets it would have sold back then, and see if it would have done just as good or sold more tickets. More or less, I am sure IT would sell way more tickets, as today’s technology has more and more sitting home and watching a downloaded copy on their computers instead of paying to go see it in the theater.

        • ky

          Spot on. Add me to that massive list of people who WOULD have paid to see “It” (along with about a thousand other movies) if I didn’t have the option of watching it at home, for free. You cannot argue that is a large amount of people, or possible tickets. I am in full agreement, you cant just directly compare a current movie to one released in the 70’s, no matter what stats you choose to add/remove/adjust.

          • Gary

            Exactly Ky, if they can take the number of tickets they sold back then and multiply them by today’s prices, then they can take a movie that makes hundreds of millions today and go back and say, well, if we grossed this much, then we’d have sold this many tickets back then. It’s all just wishful thinking on everyone’s part.

          • Franmon

            Decaf for you to. Your arguing against what the article and other comments have said.
            What I don’t understand is how personal you, Gary, and others are taking this.
            So friggin’ (and I didn’t say friggin’) what if this movie makes more or less?
            Do you guys get residuals? Does it mean Exorcist is not the same film or people will like it less?
            Does every opinion have to devolve into a cockfight in a crowded bar when everyone else just wanted a quiet beer?

        • Franmon

          Gary, decaf…

    • Franmon

      Gary, settle down. Gets some decaf. Because the business of film distribution is entirely different than even 20 years ago, it almost impossible to do an apples to apples comparison.
      But, counting the global population as a reason why Exorcist will always be number 1 is silly.
      Some tidbits.
      – films are make or break on the 1st weekend now. Until fairly recently, movies were given time to grow “legs”. Part of this was due to the expense of making prints. Even big movies opened on fewer screens than today and would go from market to market.
      -There was no home market until the 80’s. This means it took much longer for everyone to see a film. Today the number of eyeballs that will see IT in 3 months from opening will surpass the number who saw Exorcist for the same period. Once home viewing is included the total number for Exorcist will be more since 50 years of viewers had the chance to see it.
      There’s a lot more to this, but given your attention span and some personal things making this argument so important to you, I’ll leave it with the same thought as the article.
      It doesn’t matter. A horror film going mainstream is great for the genre.

      • Gary

        Well Franmon, I’m not the one saying that The Exorcist, etc… are number one, etc… I’m just stating that you can’t compare a movie from the 70s to today’s movies. If you read my post, it will tell you I am against this inflation talk. I love when a horror movie becomes successful, means hopefully, we will see more from the studios. And I am so glad you think you know all about my attention span. Now, go have a cup of decaf yourself!

  • keeponplaying

    Jesus Christ, does EVERYBODY actually BELIEVE box office numbers??? I’m actually stunned in this day and age.
    I don’t believe for one second that a remake of a terrible tv movie is the highest grossing horror of all time. And shame on you all for believing it.

    • Charyou

      Sure, the TV miniseries is terrible, but this movie isn’t a remake. It’s based on the same source material but is infinitely different from the made for TV garbage.

  • zombie84_41

    IDK I’m still thinking that my little pony movie will be the highest grossing horror movie of all time when it comes out.

    • Franmon

      Come on! You’re not even close!

      50 Shades of Bad, both, are the ones that lingered in my psyche for weeks.
      And I only saw the trailers….

      • zombie84_41

        LOl Shit you one upped me. Ummm, ummm! Fuck you win. Seriously IDK how those movies do good or why they made more. I can’t seem to figure it out, silly women.

  • EndZero13

    It was a pretty good movie. Not scary but the goonies/super 8 style kids made it very enjoyable.

    • Judge Satchmo

      I agree exactly

  • Joshua

    I saw the movie. I thought it was ok, not great. I don’t like comparing movies and all but I my list of best horror movies does not include “IT”.

  • James Allard

    Box Office Mojo (dot com) allows for a more clear look. Each film is listed with its U.S. returns and adds in the worldwide, and (with one exception below) the production budget. Production does not factor in marketing, nor distribution. It does not factor in for inflation, nor tickets sold. (No production budget listed)

    Having said that… so what? The Transformers franchise keeps excreting onto screens and making money (love that the U.S. … stoopid ‘Muricans… have all but totally rejected them but the rest of the world keeps eating that crap)… does that make them good? Lasting? Worthy of serious discussion?

    I included BWP, not to annoy or anger, but because it was made on a budget of $60,000 and pulled in $248 Million. Love it or hate it (not the concern here), that puppy brought back a serious return on an investment. If you (or I) could crowdsource a movie (good, bad or indifferent) for $60k and get a return of $250 M then… we’d be happy. Really, really happy. And studios, being driven by the $$$$ in their eyes, would make movies like ours.

  • Bloodspatta

    Y’all a bunch of downers, especially the writers of this site. You celebrate films one minute then kick them in the guts the next. IT is a monster success and should be celebrated.

    • Mike Augustine

      You’re so right. Who gives a shit. At the end of the day IT is a monster hit and exactly what horror needed for our beloved genre. This article is petty nonsense.

  • Alanmac

    All we’ve read over the last year is SEE IT!!! SEE IT!!!!! SEE IT!!!!! Then, after the release all we read was IT HAS MADE MILLIONS IN THE OPENING WEEKEND AND BLOWN THE LID OFF OF THE CINEMA!!!!

  • Craig Forshaw

    This article is right: The Exorcist did make loads more. But Jaws isn’t a horror film – it’s an adventure thriller, but isn’t focused on the sense of dread or reverting to gore and shock tactics that typically marks out actual horror films. Just because it is tense – and it is – doesn’t make it horror. North By Northwest is tense, and quite a few people are killed, but you’d never call it a horror film.

    • drew

      Jaws is a horror film.

    • Necro

      Ahhh that extremely fine line between Horror and Thriller, and I’m not disagreeing with your opinion, nor am I agreeing either. ‘Jaws’, ‘Seven’, ‘Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Hannibal’, ‘Red Dragon’, ‘Don’t Breathe’, ‘Suspect Zero’, ‘Kiss the Girls’, ‘The Bone Collector’ & ‘Green Room’ just to name a few are all examples of films that sit on that proverbial line. I’ve heard all those aforementioned films labeled as either Horror & Thriller by fans and media over the years. Is either one technically wrong? I guess your personal opinion decides that. I do see what you’re saying though.

  • Danny Joseph

    Adjusting for inflation is a farce… They made what they made at the time of their release. This “adjusting for inflation” is just some tool used to keep the nostalgia they feel for older films on some imaginary pedestal.

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