With a current domestic box office total of $323.7 million, It has become the highest-grossing horror movie of all time, surpassing the previous record held by The Exorcist ($232.9 million). As director William Friedkin pointed out, however, his 1973 classic technically packed more theaters.
While Friedkin described It as “a little bit over the top” in an IndieWire interview, the director added that he did like the film. Yet, he firmly believes The Exorcist will always be superior.
“The clown was pretty scary stuff. I really like it. But here’s the thing. It will never have as many admissions as The Exorcist in terms of people who came to see it. The price of a ticket when The Exorcist came out was probably on average less than two dollars; I think today it’s closer to nine.”
“Neither The Exorcist nor any of the other films that made a lot of money will ever have as many viewers as Gone with the Wind or Birth of a Nation,” he went on.
“I think it cost 15 cents or a quarter to see. So you can’t talk about how many people saw this more than something else because of the difference in the value of money.
“But it’s kind of unusual for Warner Bros to get behind a story like that because The Exorcist has been such an important film to them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Still, I liked It. I thought it was terrific.”
According to Box Office Mojo, The Exorcist is the 9th biggest movie of all time after being adjusted for inflation with $987.7 million. It, meanwhile, currently sits at #221 on thee adjusted for ticket price inflation chart.