Box Office: Will Stephen King’s “It” kick off a killer fall for films?

it1Hollywood is famous for its short collective memory. But they have reason to want to forget last summer. In box office terms, it was chilling, a near disaster, a “What’s the future of this business?” level fall-off.  Historically bad, a break-the-movie-going habit warning that better, more varied pictures are a must.

So what can save them? A remake of a Stephen King mini-series. “It” has been expected to pull in over $60 million and pull Tinseltown’s bacon out of the fire.

And even though there’s a hurricane that will wipe out Florida’s receipts, starting Saturday (go tonight, kids!), Box Office Mojo is predicting an $85 million opening.

It is almost certain to set a new fall opening record. But that’s got to be too high, right? Florida and the Southeast are braced for a hurricane, a big chunk of Texas is closed for repairs. How can they hit $85?

They can’t, says the Box Office Guru. $62, says he. 

Reviews have been quite good for this “Stand by Me” with a sewer luring clown. Really, it’s no better or worse than most King horror fiction, derivative — obvious — but not bad counts as pretty good.  

And horror has proven to have a pretty firm ceiling. Not everybody wants to see a scary movie, not many want to see their clown nightmares on the big screen.

Reese Witherspoon needs a hit to keep her film career relevant. She make pull in $12 million worth of fans for “Home Again,” which is getting awful reviews — deservedly so. That’s what Box Office Mojo thinks the picture will do. Again, Florida and Texas are out of play, so lower bets are safer. Box Office Mojo figures $8.5 — maybe.

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