Preface: the below are a slight expansion of the notes I was attempted to jot down on my commute home post-view. Please forgive the informality.
–Theatre Experience: Packed house. 500-person auditorium 80%+ filled. Felt more at-capacity than likes of Logan, Guardians 2, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, etc. for debut run (7pm Thurs) this year (Dunkirk more packed, but far different situation).
Should one expect large crowds opening weekend? The horror genre is historically front-loaded so crowd density isn’t unheard of early-on. HOWEVER word-of-mouth should be strong enough to push anyone on the fence into a seat. Will be far easier to get into afternoon than it will the later evening shows. Fortunately we now live in an era of advanced assigned seating. Audience was involved but polite. Only saw one phone at an inappropriate time. Many audible gasps and whispered curses.
–Audience Reaction: Not to be compared with likes of the Sunday AM Senior crowd in early January nor some enthused fangirl whooping at the end of Wonder Woman. There was applause of genuine audience satisfaction!
–On the film itself: Using real kids/early teens definitely beneficial. All well-played parts. Big laughs/enjoyment at the how un-PC a group of boys on bikes can be. Just enough character development to keep things moving though the overall pace felt a little slow at times.
I’m not sure how Pennywise actually works? Is he actually a character? Almost no development. Was it assumed that audience should be familiar with some source material? (Never read book, been 22+yrs since seeing other movie) So he made no sense to me. Still threw out quite a few fright smack-downs. Mostly terrifying just to look at (“mostly” because some CGI looked cheap – detracted from what might have been). The most terrifying parts of the movie were certainly the ones that didn’t involve the clown.
–Overall: Even the slightest interest in the horror genre should be enough for one to justify the price of admission for a fantastic theatrical experience and excuse to tune out worldly distractions for a couple of hours.