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It Chapter Two is a 2019 supernatural horror film directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Gary Dauberman and Jeffrey Jurgensen. It is a sequel to the 2017 film It. Taking place in 2016, 27 years after the events of the first film, the members of the Losers Club have grown up and moved to different cities. However, a disturbing phone call brings them back together to deal with Pennywise once again. 

The film stars Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise/IT, who reprises his role from the first film, with Jessica Chastain, James McAvoyBill Hader, Isaiah MustafaJay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean as the older versions of the Losers Club, while Jaeden LieberherSophia LillisFinn WolfhardJeremy Ray TaylorJack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, and Wyatt Oleff make cameos as the younger Losers.

Plot

In 2016 Derry, Maine, Don Hagarty and his boyfriend Adrian Mellon are leaving a carnival, when a group of homophobic teenagers beat Adrian up and throw him off a bridge into a river, and Pennywise kills him before Don's eyes. Mike Hanlon hears about it on a police scanner, and calls his old friends, Bill Denbrough, Richie Tozier, Beverly Marsh, Ben Hanscom, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stanley Uris, back to Derry to honor the promise they made in 1989 to reunite and kill It if it came back. While the others travel to Derry with only hazy memories and a sense of dread, Stan commits suicide in the bath soon after getting the call. The Losers meet for dinner at a Chinese restaurant, where Mike refreshes their memories while they are tormented by hallucinations and learn of Stan's suicide.

Richie and Eddie decide to leave until Beverly tells the group her exposure to It's Deadlights has her experience visions of their deaths should they leave town without fulfilling their promise. Mike takes Bill to his library abode and shows him, via a drug-induced vision, It’s origins, and that the Shokopiwah Native American tribe's Ritual of Chüd can stop It for good. After the others agree to perform the ritual, Mike explains that the ritual requires seven personal items from their past. Meanwhile, Henry Bowers, who survived being pushed into the well and was arrested for murdering his father in 1989, escapes from a mental institution with help from Pennywise in the form of his late friend, Patrick Hockstetter. A little girl named Victoria is killed after It deceives her by saying that he can remove a birthmark from her face.

Getting Stan's shower cap in the Losers' old clubhouse, Mike advises the others to find their artifacts by retracing their steps following their falling out and disbanding after first entering the Well House. Beverly finds Ben's love letter at her old home, still believing Bill wrote it, now inhabited by an old woman named Mrs. Kersh, who turns out to be It in disguise. Ben recalls his childhood encounter with It at high school before realizing his artifact is the yearbook page Beverly signed which he kept in his wallet. Both Richie and Eddie recall their own personal encounters with It while retrieving their artifacts: a game token from an abandoned arcade, and an inhaler. Pennywise taunts Richie before menacing Eddie in the guise of the Leper, only to flee when Eddie standing up to It causes the monster to shrink in size.

Bill finds his childhood bicycle "Silver" and recovers the paper boat from the storm drain where Georgie was killed while meeting a boy named Dean, who lives at his old house and hears voices from the shower drain. Bill regroups with the others before running off to the carnival after learning It is going after Dean, only to end up watching helplessly as It kills the boy in front of him. Henry attempts to murder Eddie in the Losers' hotel before attacking Mike at the library, only to be killed by Richie. The Losers join a traumatized Bill at the Well House, talking him out of facing It alone out of guilt.

The group descends into a cavern beneath the sewers, Mike providing a rock from the Losers' fight with the Bowers Gang as they perform the ritual in the remains of the meteor that brought It to Earth ages ago. The ritual appears to work in trapping the Deadlights in the sealing jar, but they escape after Pennywise emerges from the jar in a giant spider-like form. Pennywise makes Mike confess that It killed those who previously performed the ritual, though he assures the others they have a better chance in facing their fears. It attacks the Losers and places Bill, Ben, and Beverly in nightmarish scenarios, which they escape once Bill lets go of his guilt over Georgie's death and Beverly realizes Ben wrote the love letter. Richie gets caught in It's Deadlights while attempting to save Mike; Eddie saves him, but gets impaled afterwards. The Losers regroup and realize they can still stop Pennywise by making him feel small. They begin taunting him, showing that they are not afraid of any of It's forms and calling him "just a clown.” Their mockeries cause Pennywise to shrink into a helpless infant. Mike rips out It’s heart so he and the Losers can crush it, finally killing It for good. Eddie dies from his injuries, and the Losers are forced to leave him behind when It's death causes a cave-in that destroys the Well House.

The remaining Losers comfort Richie as he mourns for Eddie; Pennywise's defeat has also caused the scars on their hands from their blood oath to disappear. After the Losers part ways, Ben and Beverly become a couple, Richie returns to the kissing bridge where he had once carved his and Eddie’s initials, Mike decides to move out of Derry and start a new life, and Bill begins writing his new story before receiving a call from Mike as he leaves Derry, learning that Stan sent them all posthumous letters. Stan reveals in his letter that he was too scared to deal with Pennywise again and his suicide was actually a means to give his friends a fighting chance against It and asks them to live life to the fullest.

Cast

  • Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh, the only female member of the Losers' Club who was abused physically and sexually by her father and was bullied at school over false rumors of promiscuity. As an adult, she has become a fashion designer in New York City, while going through many abusive relationships, including her marriage to Tom Rogan.
  • James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, the former leader of the Losers Club, who lead them against Pennywise, and had them promise to come back to Derry if he returns. As an adult, Bill has become a successful writer and is married to film star Audra Phillips.
  • Bill Hader as Richie Tozier, Bill's bespectacled best friend and fellow member of the Loser's Club, whose loud mouth and foul language often get him into trouble. Richie becomes a successful comedian in Chicago as an adult.
  • Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon, the only member of the Losers Club to stay behind in Derry and becomes the town librarian while summoning the other Losers back to Derry when It resurfaces. Mike also has a serious drug problem stemming from being traumatized by the events in his childhood.
    • Chosen Jacobs as young Mike Hanlon.
    • Tristian Levi Cox and Torian Matthew Cox as 4-year-old Mike Hanlon
  • Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom, a member of the Losers Club who was bullied because of being overweight. As an adult, he has lost weight, and has become an architect living in upstate New York, and has started his own business, Hanscom Architecture.
  • James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak, a germophobic member of the Losers Club, who, as an adult, becomes a risk assessor in New York City and is married to Myra, who is very similar to his overbearing mother.
  • Andy Bean as Stanley "Stan" Uris, a member of the Losers Club who battled It. As an adult, he becomes a partner in a large Atlanta-based accounting firm and married to Patty Blum, a teacher.
  • Bill Skarsgård as It/Pennywise the Dancing Clown, an ancient, transdimensional demon that comes out every twenty-seven years to feed on the fears of children and kill them. His defeat at the hands of the Losers Club during the summer of 1989 has lead him to become stronger than ever so he can get revenge on them when they return to Derry.
  • Teach Grant as Henry Bowers, a sociopathic bully who terrorized the Losers' Club in the summer of 1989 before he was committed. He is recruited by Pennywise once again to kill the Losers' Club.

Production

Development

On February 16, 2016, producer Roy Lee, in an interview with Collider, mentioned a second It film, remarking, "[Dauberman] wrote the most recent draft working with [Muschietti], so it's being envisioned as two movies."

On July 19, 2017, Muschietti revealed that production was set to begin in the spring of 2018, adding, "We'll probably have a script for the second part in January [2018]. Ideally, we would start prep in March. Part one is only about the kids. Part two is about these characters 27 years later as adults, with flashbacks to 1989 when they were kids."

On July 21, 2017, Muschietti spoke of looking forward to having a dialogue in the second film that does not exist within the first, stating, "... it seems like we're going to do it. It's the second half, it's not a sequel. It's the second half and it's very connected to the first one." Muschietti stated that two cut scenes from the first film will possibly be included in the second, one of which being the fire at the Black Spot from the book.

On September 25, 2017, New Line Cinema announced that the sequel would be released on September 6, 2019, with Gary Dauberman[24] and Jeffrey Jurgensen (who later went uncredited) writing the script. Andy Muschietti returned to direct. Dauberman would later leave the project to write and direct Annabelle Comes Home, while Jason Fuchs was brought in as his replacement.

Casting

In an interview in July 2017, the child actors from the first film were asked which actors they would choose to play them in the sequel. Sophia Lillis chose Jessica Chastain and Finn Wolfhard chose Bill Hader, both of whom would end up cast in those roles.

In September 2017, Muschietti and his sister mentioned that Chastain would be their top choice to play the adult version of Beverly Marsh. In November 2017, Chastain herself expressed interest in the project. Finally, in February 2018, Chastain officially joined the cast to portray the character, making the film her second collaboration with Muschietti after Mama. By April 2018, Hader and James McAvoy were in talks to join the cast to play adult versions of Richie Tozier and Bill Denbrough, respectively. In May 2018, James Ransone, Jay Ryan, and Andy Bean joined the cast to portray adult versions of Eddie Kaspbrak, Ben Hanscom, and Stanley Uris, respectively.

In June 2018, Isaiah Mustafa joined as the adult version of Mike Hanlon, while Xavier Dolan and Will Beinbrink were also cast as Adrian Mellon and Tom Rogan, respectively. Later, Teach Grant was cast to play the adult version of Henry Bowers, played by Nicholas Hamilton, and Jess Weixler was also cast, as Bill's wife. This is the second collaboration between McAvoy, Chastain, Hader, Weixler and Beinbrink after The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. In September 2018, it was revealed that Javier Botet would appear in the film. He played It forms, Hobo the Leper and The Witch.

Filming

Principal photography on the film began on June 19, 2018, at Pinewood Toronto Studios. The sewer system set was constructed at Pinewood, while the actual grate is located in North York.

Much of the location work was done in and around Port Hope during summer 2018, as the town stood in for the fictional Derry, Maine; signs and decor were changed as necessary. The Town Hall exterior was used as the Derry Library. Some exterior shots of the hotel were filmed at the town's Hotel Carlyle.

Some interiors were filmed at a 1902 mansion in Toronto, Cranfield House, while homes in the city, and in Oshawa and Pickering, were used as exteriors. An old mansion set was built for exteriors of the Pennywise home, and later burned, in Oshawa. The synagogue in the film was actually the Congregation Knesseth Israel in Toronto. Derry High School exteriors were filmed at the Mount Mary Retreat Centre in Ancaster, Ontario. Other locations used by the production included the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, the Scottish Rite Club in Hamilton, Ontario, Audley Park in Ajax, Ontario, Rouge Park in Scarborough, Toronto (as The Barrens) and The Mandarin Restaurant in Mississauga.

Filming concluded in early November 2018 after 86 days of production.

Post-production

The visual effects were provided by Atomic Arts and Method Studios. They were supervised by Brooke Lyndon-Stanford, Justin Cornish, and Josh Simmonds, as well as Nicholas Brooks as the Production Supervisor, with help from Cubica, Lola VFX, Make VFX, Rodeo FX and Soho VFX. The teenage actors were digitally de-aged to match their respective ages during filming of the first film.

Music

All music is composed by Benjamin Wallfisch.

Release

It Chapter Two had its world premiere at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles, California on August 26, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on September 6, 2019 by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Marketing

The first image of the adult versions of the Losers' Club was released on July 2, 2018, as principal photography began. The first teaser poster of the film was released on October 31, 2018. Footage from the film was shown at the CinemaCon on April 2, 2019. A second teaser poster was released on May 9, 2019, along with a teaser trailer. On July 17, 2019, the second poster and the final trailer were released at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Home media

The film will be released in a digital format on November 19, 2019, followed by a release on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K on December 10, 2019 in the United States.

Super Cut

In September 2019, Muschietti expressed interest in releasing a "Super Cut" version of both chapters. This version would combine both films into one with scenes that were left in the editing process. Muschietti also mentioned the possibility of adding two or three new scenes that would be shot for this edition. The future of this version is yet to be announced.

Reception

Box office

As of November 6, 2019, It Chapter Two has grossed $211.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $247.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $459.2 million.

In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $90–100 million from 4,570 theaters in its opening weekend, and the week of its release broke Fandango's record for most advance tickets sold by a horror film. The film made $37.4 million in its first day, including $10.5 million from Thursday night previews, the second-highest total for both a September opening and horror film, behind the first film's $13.5 million. It went on to debut to $91 million, also the second-best ever for a horror film and a September release, while being over $30 million less than the first film. The lower debut was attributed to a more mixed critical reception, as well as the nearly three-hour runtime, which exhibitors said curbed business. It made $40.7 million in its second weekend, retaining the top spot, before making $17.2 million in its third weekend and being dethroned by newcomer Downton Abbey.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on 342 reviews, with an average rating of 6.09/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "It: Chapter Two proves bigger doesn't always mean scarier for horror sequels, but a fine cast and faithful approach to the source material keep this follow-up afloat." On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, the film has a score of 58 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, the same as the first film, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 76% and a 56% "definite recommend."

Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper praised the production design and cast, but said the film was not as scary as the first, specifying, "For all of Muschietti's visual flourishes and with the greatly talented Bill Skarsgård again delivering a madcap, disturbingly effective, all-in performance as the dreaded Pennywise, It: Chapter Two had a relatively muted impact on me." Variety's Peter DeBruge wrote, "The clown is back, and the kids have grown up in part two of Stephen King's monster novel, which inspires an overlong, but suitably scary sequel," while Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com gave the film two-and-a-half out of four stars, stating that "It Chapter Two can be a sprawling, unwieldy mess—overlong, overstuffed and full of frustrating detours—but its casting is so spot-on, its actors have such great chemistry and its monster effects are so deliriously ghoulish that the film keeps you hooked."

Katie Rife of The A.V. Club gave the film a grade of "C+," praising Hader's performance but summarizing, "What a shame, than to build this beautiful stage, populate it with talented actors and high-level craftspeople, and then drop them all through the trap door of plodding humor and scattershot plotting."[58] Aja Romano of Vox called the film "well-made and entertaining," but criticized what she termed the "lack of chemistry" between members of the adult cast, and wrote that the film "muddles [the] message" of the novel on which it is based. Rich Juzwiak of Jezebel gave the film a negative review, calling it "meandering" and "a movie that has no sense of its rules."

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Main Characters:Bill Denbrough | Beverly Marsh | Stanley Uris | Richie Tozier | Eddie Kaspbrak | Ben Hanscom | Mike Hanlon | Pennywise

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