‘It’ becomes top-grossing R-rated horror flick of all time

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Bill Skarsgard stars as Pennywise the clown in "It," a new horror film based on a Stephen King novel.

Bill Skarsgard stars as Pennywise the clown in "It," a new horror film based on a Stephen King novel. (Warner Bros. Pictures via Associated Press)

The numbers are enough to make your head spin: “It,” the scary-clown movie based on the Stephen King novel, has become the highest-grossing R-rated horror film ever released in the U.S.

With domestic ticket sales at $236 million as of Friday, “It” has topped 1973’s “The Exorcist,” which previously held the title.

However, Inverse noted that “The Exorcist” still holds the title – by far – when its numbers are adjusted for inflation. The money pulled in by the movie that starred Linda Blair would translate to $983 million in today’s dollars, the site estimated.

And Variety noted that “The Exorcist” still leads in global sales — $441.3 million over $404.3 million for “It.”

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Either way, that kind of money can buy a lot of red balloons.

Variety also noted that “It” ranks No. 9 among R-rated films of all kinds, and is the most successful film ever released in September.

Having been in theaters only since Sept. 8, “It” still has a long way to go, revenue-wise, so it’s probably no surprise that Warner Bros. is talking about a sequel, Entertainment Weekly reported.

“It” is also the highest-grossing film based on a Stephen King work. That’s impressive, considering his writing has inspired such well-known films as “Carrie” (1976; $33.8 million); “The Shining” (1980; $44.4 million); “Stand By Me” (1986; $52.3 million); and “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994; $58.3 million).

One imagines King had quite a happy 70th birthday on Thursday.

And if he had no clowns at his party, a few million movie fans will understand.

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