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It (also known as It: Chapter One) is a 2017 American supernatural horror film[5] directed by Andy Muschietti, based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The screenplay is by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman.[6][7] A second installment is planned. The film tells the story of seven children in Derry, Maine, who are terrorized by the eponymous being, only to face their own personal demons in the process. The novel was previously adapted into a 1990 miniseries.[8][9][10]

It
It (2017) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andy Muschietti
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on It
by Stephen King
Starring
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch
Cinematography Chung-hoon Chung
Edited by Jason Ballantine
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • September 5, 2017 (2017-09-05) (TCL Chinese Theatre)
  • September 8, 2017 (2017-09-08) (United States)
Running time
135 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35 million[2][3]
Box office $688 million[4]

The film stars Jaeden Lieberher and Bill Skarsgård as Bill Denbrough and Pennywise the Dancing Clown, respectively, with Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott in supporting roles.[11][6] Principal photography began in the Riverdale neighborhood of Toronto on June 27, 2016, and ended on September 21, 2016.[12][13] Other Ontario locations included Port Hope and Oshawa.[14][15][16]

It premiered in Los Angeles on September 5, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on September 8, 2017.[17][18] Upon release, the film set numerous box office records and has grossed $688 million worldwide.[19] Unadjusted for inflation, it is the highest-grossing horror film and the second highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time (after Deadpool).[20][21] It is also the 10th highest-grossing film of 2017. It received positive reviews, with critics praising the performances, direction, cinematography and musical score, with many calling it one of the best Stephen King adaptations.[22]

A sequel, It: Chapter Two, is scheduled to be released on September 6, 2019.[23]

Contents

Plot

In October 1988, stuttering teenager Bill Denbrough gives his seven-year-old brother, Georgie, a paper sailboat. Georgie sails the boat along the rainy streets of small town Derry and is disappointed when it falls down a storm drain. As he attempts to retrieve it, Georgie sees a clown in the sewer who introduces himself as "Pennywise the Dancing Clown". The clown entices Georgie to come closer by talking about the circus, then severs his arm and drags him into the sewer drain.

The following summer, Bill and his friends (loudmouth Richie Tozier, hypochondriac Eddie Kaspbrak, and timid Stan Uris) run afoul of bully Henry Bowers and his gang. Bill, still haunted by Georgie's disappearance and the resulting neglect from his grief-stricken parents, discovers that his brother's body may have washed up in a marshy wasteland called the Barrens. He recruits his friends to check it out, believing his brother may still be alive.

"New kid" Ben Hanscom learns that the town has been plagued by unexplained tragedies and child disappearances for centuries, and is lured into the basement of the library by Pennywise, before escaping the library. He is attacked by Bowers' gang for being fat and has an 'H' carved into his stomach. He is able to escape before Henry can finish his name and flees into the Barrens and meets Bill's group. They find the sneaker of a missing girl named Betty Ripsom, while a member of the pursuing Bowers Gang, Patrick Hockstetter, is killed by Pennywise looking for Ben. The Losers see Ben bloody, and rush to the nearest drug store to fix him up. They don't have enough money, however, and Beverly Marsh, a classmate and friend of Ben bullied by mean girls over rumors of promiscuity, helps them in stealing the products.

Beverly helps clean Ben's wound and joins the group; both Bill and Ben develop feelings for her. Later, the group befriends homeschooled black kid Mike Hanlon after defending him from Bowers in a rock war. All the while each member of the group has encountered terrifying phenomena in various forms; these include a menacing clown for Richie, a headless boy for Ben, a fountain of blood for Beverly, a diseased and rotting man known as a Leper for Eddie, a creepy painting come to life for Stan, Mike's parents burning alive, and finally a phantom Georgie for Bill.

Now calling themselves "The Losers Club", they realize they are all being terrorized by the same entity. They determine that Pennywise (or "It") assumes the appearance of what they fear, awakens every 27 years to feed on the children of Derry before returning to hibernation, and moves about by using sewer lines – which all lead to the town's original well under the creepy, abandoned house at 29 Neibolt Street. After an attack by Pennywise, the group ventures to the house to confront him, only to be separated and terrorized. Bill and Richie leave Eddie behind, and Eddie sees the leper. Richie then gets locked in a room full of clown dolls, and sees a casket with a doll of himself inside. Pennywise jumps out from behind the casket and chases Richie out the door. They realize Eddie is gone, and find him right before Pennywise kills him. Eddie breaks his arm, while Pennywise gloats to Bill about Georgie. As they regroup, Beverly impales Pennywise through the head, forcing the clown to retreat. However, after the encounter Eddie is forbidden to see the group by his overprotective mother, Richie argues that fighting It isn't worth their lives, leading him to say Georgie is indeed dead in which Bill punches Richie in the face. Richie, Stan and Mike leave the group out of fear, and only Bill, Ben, and Beverly remain resolute in fighting It and prepare for another confrontation.

Weeks later, after Beverly confronts and incapacitates her abusive father, she is abducted by Pennywise. The Losers' Club reassembles and travels back to the Neibolt house to rescue her. Henry Bowers, who has killed his father after being compelled into madness by It, attacks the group. Mike fights back and pushes Henry down the well to his apparent death. Amidst, Beverly wakes up in Pennywise's lair. She tries to run away, but Pennywise catches her, and shows her It's true form; the Deadlights. The Losers descend into the sewers and Stan is separated and almost killed by It in the form of the "Flute Lady", but is rescued by the Losers. They find It's underground lair, which contains a mountain of decayed circus props and children's belongings, around which the bodies of missing children float in mid-air. Beverly, now catatonic after being exposed to It's true form, is restored to consciousness as Ben kisses her. Bill encounters Georgie, but recognizes that he is Pennywise in disguise, and shoots him with Mike's bolt gun. Pennywise attacks the group and takes Bill hostage, offering to spare the others if they let It keep Bill. Richie lists bad things Bill has done to him, but realizes friendship is important, and attacks Pennywise with a baseball bat. The Losers see their various fears, but wound It quickly. After a brutal battle they defeat Pennywise and he retreats, with Bill declaring that It will starve during its hibernation. Their victory is bittersweet, as Bill finds his brother's raincoat and accepts his death while his friends comfort him and the missing children's bodies float to the ground. The Losers then leave the sewers.

As summer ends, Beverly informs the group of a vision she had while catatonic, where she saw them fighting It as adults. The Losers swear a blood oath that they will return to Derry as adults if It returns and destroy the creature once and for all by cutting their palms with a glass shard. Stanley, Eddie, Richie, Mike, and Ben make their goodbyes as the group disperses. Beverly tells Bill she is leaving the next day to live with her aunt in Portland. Before she leaves, Bill reveals his feelings and they share a kiss.

Cast

  • Jaeden Lieberher as William "Bill" Denbrough:
    The stuttering leader of the Losers' Club searching for his missing brother Georgie.[24][25] Losing his brother makes the battle against It a more personal crusade for him.[26] On the character of Denbrough, Muschietti spoke of him knowing a situation of despair, on top of the terror of It and the fear of heights, to which he stated, "Bill is like a ghost in his own home: nobody sees him because his parents can't get over Georgie's death."[27] Ty Simpkins was considered for the role in Cary Fukunaga's production.[28][29]
 
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise
  • Bill Skarsgård as It / Pennywise the Dancing Clown:[N 1]
    An ancient, trans-dimensional evil that awakens every twenty-seven years.[30][31][32][33] Will Poulter was previously cast in the role but was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts,[30] with Poulter stating, "I was when Mr. Fukunaga was directing, but the circumstances at New Line are such that a new director's attached now."[34] Poulter continued, "I think, with all due respect to him of course, I was selected by Cary and subscribed to Cary's vision for the movie, and so I haven't had a chance to connect with that [new] director."[35] Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn, Kirk Acevedo, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, and Tilda Swinton were considered for the role,[36][37][38][39][40] with Mendelsohn passing on the project, as New Line wanted him to take a sizable pay cut.[41] On June 3, 2016, The Independent officially reported, after final negotiations took place, that Muschietti had chosen actor Bill Skarsgård to portray the character.[42] On portraying Pennywise, Skarsgård stated, "It's such an extreme character. Inhumane, It's beyond even a sociopath because he's not even human. He's not even a clown. I'm playing just one of the beings It creates."[43] Skarsgård described the character further, saying, "It truly enjoys the shape of the clown Pennywise, and enjoys the game and the hunt." He also commented,[44] "What's funny to this evil entity might not be funny to everyone else. But he thinks it's funny."[45] On Pennywise's design, Skarsgård stated, "It's important that we do something fresh and original for this one. It's purposely not going toward that weird, greasy look."[46] He also commented on being compared to Tim Curry, stating that, "[Curry]'s performance was truly great, but it's important for me to do something different because of that. I'll never be able to make a Tim Curry performance as good as Tim Curry."[47][48] Skarsgård also elaborated on his age, stating, "There's a childishness to the character, because he's so closely linked to the kids. The clown is the manifestation of children's imaginations, so there's something child-like about that."[49] Producer Dan Lin spoke of Skarsgård's physical attributes: "His build is really interesting. He's really tall and lanky, and feels a little clown like in his movement. When he came in—we had a lot of different actors read, and when he came in he had a different spin on the character that got us really excited."[50] Lin concluded by contrasting the character with that of Heath Ledger's Joker, "You've had [Ledger] doing almost a clown joker, you've seen obviously Tim Curry as a clown. We wanted someone who created a Pennywise character that would stand on its own and Bill came in and created this character that frankly freaked us out."[50] Muschietti spoke of Skarsgård's Pennywise as one not to lurk in the shadows, to which he remarked, "Pennywise shows up, he's front and center, and he does his show. He has an act ... So it's weird all the time, and every little thing implies a further threat."[51][52][53][54][55] Muschietti also spoke of wanting to make the sense of dread that grows in Derry part of the dread of Pennywise, to which he stated, "He's not just a character that can shape-shift, his influence is all around. The anticipation of him is almost scarier than the actual Pennywise scares."[56] On selecting Skarsgård to portray Pennywise, Muschietti wanted to stay true to the essence of the character, and Skarsgård caught his attention,[57] "The character has a childish and sweet demeanor, but there’s something very off about him. Bill has that balance in him. He can be sweet and cute, but he can be pretty disturbing."[58]
  • Wyatt Oleff as Stanley "Stan" Uris:
    A Jewish mysophobe who is the son of a rabbi. He is studying for his bar mitzvah but isn't interested in religion, which is upsetting to his father. On the character of Uris, Muschietti spoke of him knowing a situation of despair, "Long story short, there’s all sorts of difficult situations, and we had the chance to tell them in a movie that faces directly those conflicts ... the families of the young actors were very open-minded, so we could tell them about subjects that are normally very touchy."[59]
  • Jeremy Ray Taylor as Benjamin "Ben" Hanscom:
    Hanscom is the new kid at school and consequently does not have any friends. He likes reading and researching so he spends a lot of time in the library. He is also very overweight, which earns his place in the Losers' Club, but like all of the Losers, there are underlying facets that define him far more than superficial appearances.[26][60] On the character of Hanscom, Muschietti spoke of him knowing a situation of despair, "... Ben is bullied at school."[61]
  • Sophia Lillis as Beverly "Bev" Marsh:
    The only female member of the Losers' Club, she is bullied at school, particularly concerning false rumors that she is promiscuous. Her home life is also dismal, as her violent father is sexually abusive to her.[62] On the character of Marsh, Muschietti spoke of her knowing a situation of despair, "Beverly's case is of course the worst, because it’s about sexual abuse on a minor."[63] In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lillis spoke of Muschietti not wanting her and her co-stars to spend too much time with Skarsgård: "We actually weren't allowed to see him until our scenes, because we wanted the horror to be real."[64] On Skarsgård's appearance as Pennywise, she recalled, "Everyone had different reactions, but all of us were like, 'Wow, what did we get ourselves into?' One look at him, and ... you know, he's a really scary clown that wants to kill us. I was a little bit shocked."[64] On her connection with her fellow co-stars, she noted that the closeness of the friendships formed allowed Lillis to connect with her own character: "I relate to Beverly – the way she deals with her emotions, and the way she was around the Losers. I felt that way around the actual actors."[64]
  • Finn Wolfhard as Richard "Richie" Tozier:
    The bespectacled best friend of Bill Denbrough, whose loud mouth and foul language often get him into trouble.[26][60] Wolfhard, famous as Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things, shared the first image of the Losers Club on his Instagram account, with the photo captioned as "The Losers Club take Toronto", showing the cast of actors who would play the protagonists. Wolfhard was the only actor cast in both this and Fukunaga's version.[65][66][67] On the character of Tozier, Muschietti spoke of him knowing a situation of despair, "We don't know much about Richie's personality, because he's the big mouth of the group. But we suppose he's also neglected at home, and he's the clown of the band because he needs attention."[68]
  • Jack Dylan Grazer as Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak:
    Kaspbrak is the epitome of the hypochondriac, overly exaggerated by the immense amount of objects in his medicine cabinet; a sickly boy who only feels truly well when he is with his friends.[26][60][59] His overbearing mother is the true source of his hypochondria, however; she has convinced him that he is seriously ill and must stay close to her because only she can protect him. Grazer spoke of his appreciation of films such as Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) and Batman (1989) that gave him "... insight on how [he] could [improvise] or reuse those things as references to the time period."[69]
  • Chosen Jacobs as Michael "Mike" Hanlon:
    An African American homeschool student and outsider. Orphaned in a fire and raised by his stern grandfather, he is reluctant to take up the family trade as a butcher.[26][70][60][71][59] On the experience of shooting Muschietti's piece, Jacobs spoke of the experience as "... my favorite summer of my 16 long years on earth ..."[72]
  • Nicholas Hamilton as Henry Bowers:
    A young sociopath who leads the Bowers Gang, a gang of high school thugs, and terrorizes the Losers' Club.[73][74] Hamilton prepared for the role by studying Jarred Blancard's portrayal of the character in It (1990), and in Hamilton's words, "watched all the bits of my original character" for research.[75] Hamilton added, through the character of Bowers, that "There's stuff that I have to do that is really creepy and the opportunity to help share my psychotic side has been really fun."[75] Additionally Hamilton stated, "I recently did a scene where I was working with Jeremy Ray Taylor. I had to terrorize the hell out of him and get right in his face."[75]
  • Jackson Robert Scott as George "Georgie" Denbrough:
    The innocent, energetic 7-year-old brother of Bill Denbrough. His death at the hands of Pennywise sets the stage for the next summer's events.[76][77]

Additionally, Owen Teague is introduced as Patrick Hockstetter, a psychopathic bully of the Bowers Gang who meets his end early at the hands of Pennywise;[78][79][80] Logan Thompson appears as Victor "Vic" Criss, a bully and friend of Henry Bowers who is reluctant to engage in their most sadistic acts;[81][82][83] Jake Sim appears as Reginald "Belch" Huggins, another bully and friend of Henry Bowers who is known for his ability to belch on command;[77] Javier Botet appears as The Leper, a diseased and rotting man that encounters Eddie Kaspbrak at the house on 29 Neibolt Street;[84][85][86] Tatum Lee appears as Judith, one of It's horrifying creations;[87] Steven Williams appears as Leroy Hanlon, the stern grandfather of Mike Hanlon, who runs a nearby abattoir;[77] Stephen Bogaert appears as Alvin Marsh, the abusive father of Beverly Marsh;[88] Geoffrey Pounsett appears as Zack Denbrough, the father of Bill and George Denbrough;[89] Pip Dwyer appears as Sharon Denbrough, the mother of Bill and George Denbrough;[77] Ari Cohen appears as Rabbi Uris, the father of Stanley Uris;[89][90] Stuart Hughes appears as Oscar "Butch" Bowers, a police officer and abusive father of Henry Bowers;[89] Megan Charpentier appears as Greta Keene, the pharmacist's daughter who targets Beverly for ridicule.[89][91]

Production

The project first entered development in 2009.[92][93][94] The proposed film adaptation went through three phases of planning: initially a single film with screenwriter David Kajganich; then the dual film project, first with Cary Fukunaga attached as director and co-writer, then with Andy Muschietti.[86][95][96][97]

Kajganich project (2009–2010)

On March 12, 2009, Variety reported that Warner Bros. would bring Stephen King's novel to the big screen, with David Kajganich adapting the novel, and Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison producing the piece.[98] When Kajganich learnt of Warner Bros.' plans to adapt King's novel, he went after the job.[99] Knowing that Warner Bros. was committed to adapting It as a single feature film, Kajganich began to reread the novel in an attempt to try to find a structure that would accommodate such a large number of characters in two different time periods, around 120 pages, which was one of Warner Bros.' stipulations.[100] Kajganich worked with Lin, Lee, and Davison on The Invasion (2007), and he knew they would champion good storytelling, and allow him the time to work out a solid first draft of the screenplay.[101] Kajganich spoke of the remake being set in the, "mid-1980s and in the present ... mirroring the twenty-odd-year gap King uses in the book ... and with a great deal of care and attention paid to the backstories of all the characters".[102]

Kajganich also mentioned that Warner Bros. wished for the adaptation to be rated R, saying, "... we can really honor the book and engage with the traumas (both the paranormal ones and those they deal with at home and school) that these characters endure".[103] He said that his dream choice for Pennywise would be Buster Keaton if he were still alive, and that the Pennywise that he scripted is "less self-conscious of his own irony and surreality".[104] As of June 29, 2010, Kajganich was re-writing his screenplay.[105]

Fukunaga project (2012–2015)

"I am in the midst of rewriting the first script now. We're not working on the second part yet. The first script is just about the kids. It's more like The Goonies (1985) meets a horror film ... We're definitely honoring the spirit of Stephen King, but the horror has to be modernized to make it relevant. That's my job, right now, on this pass. I'm working on making the horror more about suspense than visualization of any creatures. I just don't think that's scary. What could be there, and the sounds and how it interacts with things, is scarier than actual monsters."
Cary Fukunaga, on the development of It[106]

On June 7, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Cary Fukunaga was boarding the project as director, and would co-write the script with Chase Palmer. The producers were now Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment, Dan Lin of Lin Pictures, and Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg of KatzSmith Productions.[107] On May 21, 2014, Warner Bros. was announced to have moved the film to its New Line Cinema division, with overseer duties conducting by New Line's Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter, along with Vice President of Production at Warner Bros., Niija Kuykendall. On December 5, 2014, in an interview with Vulture, Dan Lin announced that the first film would be a coming-of-age story about the children tormented by It, and the second will skip ahead in time as those same characters band together to continue the fight as adults.[108] Lin also stated that Fukunaga was then only committed to directing the first film, though was currently closing a deal to co-write the second. Lin concluded by mentioning King, to which he remarked, "The most important thing is that [King] gave us his blessing. We didn't want to make this unless he felt it was the right way to go, and when we sent him the script, the response that Cary got back was, 'Go with God, please! This is the version the studio should make.' So that was really gratifying."[109] Lin confirmed that Fukunaga was set to begin principal photography in the summer of 2016.[110]

On February 3, 2015, Fukunaga was interviewed by Slate, and spoke about It, mentioning that he has someone in mind for the role of Pennywise.[111] On March 3, 2015, Fukunaga noted his goal to find the "perfect guy to play Pennywise". Fukunaga also revealed that he, Kajganich and Palmer had changed the names and dates in the script, adding, "... the spirit is similar to what he'd like to see in cinemas".[112] On May 4, 2015, it was officially announced that Will Poulter had been cast to play Pennywise, after Fukunaga was "blown away" by his audition.[113][114] Ty Simpkins was then considered to play one of The Losers' Club members.[28]

On May 25, 2015, it was reported that Fukunaga had dropped out as the director of It.[115] According to TheWrap, Fukunaga clashed with the studio and did not want to compromise his artistic vision in the wake of budget cuts by New Line, which greenlit the first film at $30 million.[116] However, Fukunaga maintained that was not the case, stating he had bigger disagreements with New Line over the direction of the story, "I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn't fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience."[117] He made mention that the budget was fine, as well as his desire to make Pennywise more than just the clown.[117] Fukunaga concluded by stating, "We invested years and so much anecdotal storytelling in it. Chase and I both put our childhood in that story. So our biggest fear was they were going to take our script and bastardize it ... So I'm actually thankful that they are going to rewrite the script. I wouldn't want them to stealing our childhood memories and using that ... I was honoring King's spirit of it, but I needed to update it. King saw an earlier draft and liked it."[117][118] On Fukunaga's departure, King wrote, "The remake of IT may be dead—or undead—but we'll always have Tim Curry. He's still floating down in the sewers of Derry."[119][120]

Muschietti project (2015–2017)

"The way Cary intended to execute the script is something that only he can talk about. I can say my version of It highly emphasizes Pennywise's most terrifying virtue, which is It's ability to materialise into your worse fear; I want to take people in a journey into Pennywise's world through a disturbing, surrealistic and intoxicating experience that will leave nobody at ease."
Andy Muschietti, on his version of It[121]

On July 16, 2015, it was announced that Andy Muschietti was in negotiations to direct It, with New Line beginning a search for a new writer to tailor a script to Muschietti's vision.[122][123] The announcement also confirmed the possible participation of Muschietti's sister, Barbara Muschietti, as a producer, and Richard Brener joining Hamada, Neustadter and Kuykendall to oversee the project.[122] On April 22, 2016, it was indicated that Will Poulter, who had been cast to portray Pennywise in Fukunaga's version, had dropped out of the film due to a scheduling conflict and that executives were meeting with actors to portray the antagonist.[124] Also that day, New Line Cinema set the film for a release of September 8, 2017.[125][126]

On October 30, 2015, Muschietti was interviewed by Variety wherein he spoke about his vision of It, while mentioning Poulter was still in the mix for the role of Pennywise: "[Poulter] would be a great option. For me he is at the top of my list ...."[127] He confirmed that next summer is the time for them to start shooting. It was decided to shoot It during the summer months to give the filmmakers time to work with the children who have the main roles in the first part of the film.[128] Muschietti went on to say that "King described 50s' terror iconography", adding that he feels there is a whole world now to "rediscover, to update". He said there would not be any mummies or werewolves and that the "terrors are going to be a lot more surprising".[129] On February 19, 2016, at the D.I.C.E. Summit 2016, producer Roy Lee confirmed that Fukunaga and Chase Palmer's original script had been rewritten, remarking, "It will hopefully be shooting later this year. We just got the California tax credit ... [Dauberman] wrote the most recent draft working with [Muscetti], so it's being envisioned as two movies."[130]

On May 5, 2016, in an interview with Collider.com, David Kajganich expressed uncertainty as to whether drafts of his original screenplay would be used by Dauberman and Muschietti,[131] with the writer stating, "We know there's a new director, I don't know myself whether he's going back to any of the previous drafts or writing from scratch. I may not know until the film comes out. I don't know how it works! If you find out let me know."[131]

On June 2, 2016, Jaeden Lieberher was confirmed as portraying lead protagonist Bill Denbrough,[24] while The Hollywood Reporter reported that Bill Skarsgård was in final negotiations to star as Pennywise, with a cast also including Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs and Jeremy Ray Taylor.[31] Also that day, there was a call for 100 background performers, with the background actor call going from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.; by 4 p.m., more than 300 people had gone through. The casting call also asked for a marching band and period cars between 1970 and 1989.[132] On June 9, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Owen Teague was set to portray Patrick Hocksetter.[78] On June 21, 2016, it was officially announced that Nicholas Hamilton had been cast to play Henry Bowers,[133] and Bloody Disgusting reported that Javier Botet had been added to the cast shortly before filming commenced.[134][135] On June 22, 2016, Deadline.com reported that Muschietti had chosen Sophia Lillis to portray Beverly Marsh,[62] and on June 24, 2016, Moviepilot wrote that Stephen Bogaert had been added to the cast shortly before filming commenced, portraying Al Marsh, the abusive father of Beverly Marsh.[88]

On July 22, 2016, Barbara Muschietti was interviewed by Northumberland News' Karen Longwell, wherein she spoke about the filming locations on It, while mentioning the beauty of Port Hope being one of the reasons as to why it was chosen. Muschietti added, "We were looking for an idyllic town, one that would be a strong contrast to the story. Port Hope is the kind of place we all wish we had grown up in: long summers riding bicycles, walks by the lake, a lovely main street, charming homes with green lawns, warm people."[81] Muschietti also mentioned that 360 extras from the area, from adults to small children, had been involved.[81]

On August 11, 2016, at The CW TCA presentation for the series Frequency, producer Dan Lin spoke of the piece's comparison to Netflix's Stranger Things, describing It being an "homage to 80s movies", while remarking: "I think a great analogy is actually Stranger Things, and we're seeing it on Netflix right now. It's very much an homage to '80s movies, whether it's classic Stephen King or even Spielberg. Think about Stand by Me (1986) as far as the bonding amongst the kids. But there is a really scary element in Pennywise."[50] Lin continued, speaking of how well the young cast had bonded in the first weeks of shooting, "We clearly had a great dynamic amongst the kids. Really great chemistry is always a challenging thing with a movie like It because you're casting kids who don't have a ton of experience, but it ended up being really natural. Each kid, like a The Goonies (1985) or Stand by Me (1986), has a very specific personality and they're forming the loser's club obviously ... We've spent a few months getting the kids to bond and now they're going to fight this evil, scary clown."[50]

On February 9, 2017, at the press day for The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Lin confirmed that It would be rated R by the MPAA, and stated to Collider.com's Steve Weintraub, "If you're going to make a "Rated-R movie", you have to fully embrace what it is, and you have to embrace the source material. It is a scary clown that's trying to kill kids. ... They do have a scary clown that’s taken over the town of Derry, so it’s going to be rated R."[136] On March 11, 2017, Muschietti, at the SXSW festival, spoke of an element of the pre-production phase in his attempt to keep Skarsgård separated from the film's child actors, wherein the actor was not introduced to the young cast until Pennywise's first encounter with the children:[137] "It was something that we agreed on, and that's how it happened ... The day that he showed up on the stage, they f*cking freaked out. Bill is like, seven-foot high, and I can't describe how scary he looks in person. He's a wiry man, crouching, making sounds, snotting, drooling, speaking in Swedish sometimes. Terrifying."[138] Muschietti stated that the story had been moved forward, with the scenes with the young Losers Club shifting from the 1950s to the 1980s, while also describing the plot as "getting much wider", with new material not in the novel or the 1990 miniseries.[139] However, Muschietti said he hoped the material would still strike the same emotional resonance that the book did for him when he first read it: "It's all about trying to hit the core and the heart."[139]

On July 12, 2017, Muschietti, in an interview with French magazine Mad Movies, spoke of the R rating allowing him to go into adult themes, which was championed from the people at New Line Cinema.[140][141] He also stated that, "... if you aimed for a PG-13 movie, you had nothing at the end. So we were very lucky that the producers didn't try to stop us. In fact it's more our own moral compass that sometimes showed us that some things lead us in places where we didn't want to go."[142][143] In the same interview, on July 12, 2017, producer Barbara Muschietti added that there was only one scene that was deemed to be too horrific to feature in the new adaptation, stating,[144] "... you won't find the scene where a kid has his back broken and is thrown in the toilets. We thought that the visual translation of that scene had something that was really too much."[145][146] Muschietti concluded by emphasizing that nothing was removed from the original vision, nor was the violence of any event watered down.[147]

On July 19, 2017, in an interview with Variety's Brent Lang, director Muschietti commented of the monstrous forms that It will be taking, as well as noting the fact that they are very different from the incarnations present in King's story,[148] "The story is the same, but there are changes in the things the kids are scared of. In the book they're children in the '50s, so the incarnations of the monsters are mainly from movies, so it's Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein, [and] Dracula. I had a different approach. I wanted to bring out deeper fears, based not only on movie monsters but on childhood traumas."[149][150] While on the topic of the key to a successful horror film, Muschietti concluded by remarking that "Stay true to what scares you. If you don't respect that, you can't scare anyone."[151] Muschietti explained how Skarsgård caught his attention to embody Pennywise, while pointing out that he did not want the young cast to spend too much time with the actor when not shooting, and encouraged them to "maintain distance", wherein Muschietti detailed:[152][153] "We wanted to carry the impact of the encounters to when the cameras were rolling. The first scene where Bill interacted with the children, it was fun to see how the plan worked. The kids were really, really creeped out by Bill. He's pretty intimidating because he's six-four and has all this makeup."[154]

Filming

 
Port Hope had undergone a number of changes to transform into the town of Derry.

Production designer Mara LePere-Schloop went to Bangor, Maine, to scope out locations, including the Thomas Hill Standpipe, the land running alongside the Kenduskeag Stream that in It is called The Barrens, and the Waterworks on the Penobscot River.[16] LePere-Schloop said that they were hoping to shoot some scenes in the city, and possibly take some aerial shots.[16] On May 31, 2016, Third Act Productions was confirmed to have applied to film interior and exterior scenes for It in the municipality of Port Hope, with filming slated for various locations around the municipality from July 11, 2016 to July 18, 2016.[15] Principal photography begun in Toronto, with an original shooting schedule from June 27 to September 6, 2016.[155][156][157]

By July 8, 2016, Port Hope had undergone changes to transform it into Derry; Port Hope Municipal hall was the Derry Public Library,[158] The Port Hope Tourism Centre became the City of Derry office,[158] Ganaraska Financial was remade as Montgomery Financial,[158] Gould's Shoes store front on Walton Street changed to a butcher shop,[158] The Avanti Hair Design store front changed to Tony's Barber Shop,[158] an empty storefront at 36 Walton Street changed to Reliance Cleaners,[158] Queen Street Tattoo store front changed to Derry Scoop,[158] a statue of Paul Bunyan was erected in Memorial Park,[158] US flags hung in place of Canadian flags downtown,[158] and Port Hope Capitol Theatre had appeared to be showing Batman (1989) and Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), thus confirming the film's 1989 setting.[158][159][160]

On July 11, 2016, preliminary shooting took place in Port Hope Town Hall, Memorial Park cenotaph, Queen Street, between Walton and Robertson streets and the Capitol Theatre.[161] On July 12, 2016, filming occurred between the intersection of Mill and Walton street, Walton Street bridge, and in front and behind 16–22 Walton Street and Port Hope Town Hall.[161] Other shooting locations included Queen Street between Walton and Roberston street, and Memorial Park, on July 13.[161] It was also reported, on July 14, that filming had been set up on the alley between Gould's Shoe's and Avanti Hair Design, and John and Hayward streets.[161] Filming moved to Cavan Street, between Highland Drive and Ravine Drive, and Victoria Street South, between Trafalgar Street and Sullivan Street, on July 15.[161] Filming in Port Hope ended on July 18, at Watson's Guardian Drugs.[161]

Oshawa had been chosen by producers of It as the next filming location, and on July 20, 2016, filming notices were sent out to homes in the area of Eulalie Avenue and James Street, near downtown Oshawa, advising residents that filming would take place in the area from August 5 to August 8, 2016.[162] On July 29, 2016, it was announced the crew had worked on the formerly vacant lot at the dead end of James Street constructing the set, in the form of a dilapidated old house.[163] It was also remarked that the structure is a facade built around scaffolding that would be used for exterior shots.[162] The set was composed of pre-fabricated modules that were trucked in and put into place by IATSE carpenters.[164]

On July 18, 2016, production crews had arrived in Riverdale, Toronto,[165][166][167] with filming beginning at 450 Pape Ave, which is home to a circa 1902 heritage-designated building called Cranfield House, up until August 19, 2016.[168][169] It was reported on September 4 that filming had wrapped in Oshawa, which included the haunted house location, as well as on Court and Fisher streets.[170] Principal photography was confirmed to have ended in Toronto on September 21, 2016,[171][172] with an altered shooting schedule occurring from June 27 to September 21, 2016, and post-production initially beginning on September 14, 2016.[173][174]

Design

Costume design

 
Pennywise's gray costume was partly inspired by the clothing style of the Renaissance.

On August 16, 2016, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, costume designer Janie Bryant spoke of crafting Pennywise's form-fitting suit and the inspirations it drew from – involving a number of eras – among them Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian.[175] Bryant explained that the costume incorporates all these otherworldly past lives, highlighting the point that Pennywise is a clown from a different time.[176] In designing Pennywise's costume, Bryant included a Fortuny pleating, which gives the costume an almost crepe-like effect,[177] to which Bryant remarked, "It's a different technique than what the Elizabethans would do. It's more organic, it's more sheer. It has a whimsical, floppy quality to it. It's not a direct translation of a ruff or a whisk, which were two of the collars popular during the Elizabethan period."[178]

Bryant played with multiple eras as a way of reflecting Pennywise's immortality, and added a "doll-like quality to the costume".[178][179] She further stated, "The pants being short, the high waistline of the jacket, and the fit of the costume is a very important element. It gives the character a child-like quality."[178][180] Bryant spoke of the two puffs off the shoulder, sleeves and again on the bloomers, with her desire to create an "organic, gourd or pumpkin kind of effect", which includes the peplum at the waist, and the flared, skirt-like fabric blossoming from below his doublet.[178][181] She explains, "It helps exaggerate certain parts of the body. The costume is very nipped in the waist and with the peplum and bloomers it has an expansive silhouette."[178] The main color of his costume is a dusky gray, but with a few splashes of colour.[178] She concludes the interview by stating, "The pompoms are orange, and then with the trim around the cuffs and the ankles, it's basically a ball fringe that's a combination of orange, red, and cinnamon. It's almost like Pennywise fades into his environment. But there are accents to pull out the definition of the gray silk."[182]

Creature design

Judith, the woman in the portrait whose form It assumes to terrify Stan, did not appear in the novel. Muschietti based this sequence on the paintings of Amedeo Modigliani, one of which hung in his childhood home, and which he found frightening, interpreting Modigliani's stylisation as monstrosity. The eponymous creature in Muschietti's previous film, Mama, was also based on Modigliani's work.[183]

Visual effects

Nicholas Brooks was the overall visual effects supervisor, and visual effects company Rodeo FX worked on most of the visual effects on It.[184][185][186] Amalgamated Dynamics worked on the special makeup effects.[187]

Themes

The film has been described as a loss of innocence story, with fear, mortality and survivalist themes.[188] Muschietti remarked of the film's elements of coming of age and issues of mortality, adding that such themes are prevalent in King's book, though in reality they occur in a more progressive way,[189] "There's a passage [in It] that reads, 'Being a kid is learning how to live and being an adult is learning how to die.' There's a bit of a metaphor of that and it just happens in a very brutal way, of course."[189]

He also mentioned the characterization of Pennywise's survivalist attitude, and a passage in the novel which inspired Muschietti was when Bill wonders if Pennywise is eating children simply because that is what people are told monsters do,[190] "It's a tiny bit of information, but that sticks with you so much. Maybe it is real as long as children believe in it. And in a way, Pennywise's character is motivated by survival. In order to be alive in the imagination of children, he has to keep killing."[191][192] While Muschietti acknowledged It being a horror film, he felt that it is not simply that, "It's a story of love and friendship and a lot of other beautiful emotions."[193]

The graphic sexual content that was in the novel and Fukunaga's original script was not included in the film.[194]

Music

On March 23, 2017, Benjamin Wallfisch was announced as the composer of It's score.[195]

The soundtrack album was released in preview in August 2017.[196]

All tracks written by Benjamin Wallfisch.

Release

It was released in North America on September 8, 2017.[197] In Europe, the film was released in Belgium on September 6, 2017, Denmark and the Netherlands on September 7, 2017,[198][199] and Norway and Finland on September 8, 2017.[200] On March 7, 2017, the alternate title of the film was announced by Stephen King as Part 1 – The Losers’ Club.[201][202] In addition to the conventional 2D format, It was also released across 615 IMAX screens globally, including 389 domestically.[203]

Home Media

It will be released on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on January 9th, 2018.

Marketing

On January 31, 2016, Muschietti, on his Instagram, posted a sketch that was thought to be the precursor to Pennywise's final look, to celebrate pre-production getting underway.[204][205][206] Beginning from July 11, 2016, Muschietti posted a variety of missing person posters of children within the Derry area, including Betty Ripsom, Richie Tozier, Paul Greenberg, Jonathan Chan, and Tania McGowan.[207][208][209][210]

 
Muschietti shared a photo of a missing person poster featuring Richie Tozier. The poster lists all of the character's information, as part of It's marketing campaign.

The first official image for It debuted on July 13, 2016, introducing the first look at Skarsgård's Pennywise The Dancing Clown,[211] as well as an interview with Skarsgård, conducted by Anthony Breznican.[212][213] Thomas Freeman of Maxim wrote "... Skarsgard in full, terrifying costume, ... he's clearly got what it takes to fill King's most macabre, nightmare-inducing creation."[214] Chris Eggertsen of HitFix responded positively, stating the image to be "... an appropriately macabre look that doesn't deviate too radically from the aesthetic of Curry's Pennywise ... dare I say, a more creepily seductive look to Skarsgard's version that was absent from Curry's interpretation."[215]

On July 30, 2016, Muschietti released three storyboard images, up until the date of August 22, 2016, with the first featuring Bill Denbrough making a paper boat for his younger brother George.[216] The second storyboard features Bill leading his bike, nicknamed Silver, across a lawn with the included phrase:[217] "He thrusts his fists against the posts but still insists he sees the ghosts".[218] The third and final storyboard features Bill asleep next to a sketch of Beverly Marsh.[219][220]

On August 16, 2016, Entertainment Weekly released the full costume image of Skarsgård's Pennywise to promote It,[178] including an interview with costume designer Janie Bryant.[221][222] JoBlo.com's Damion Damaske was fond of the new design, though was understanding of others being dismissive of it. Damaske also stated, "One of the chief complaints is that it looked too automatically scary, and that one of the reasons Pennywise chooses his guise is to trick and lure children."[223] Dave Trumbore of Collider.com noted that "This one's going to divide some folks. It's nowhere near as baggy or colorful as the one Tim Curry ... donned ..., but the new version certainly seems to have a lot more thought and intent behind its creation."[224] Jonathan Barkan of Bloody Disgusting called the image one of "... [drawing] attention and curiosity". Barkan then stated "I don't know if it's morbid curiosity or hopeful wishes but the overall response to his face and makeup seemed to be quite positive!"[225]

On March 9, 2017, Neha Aziz of SXSW announced that Muschietti would appear at a screening event titled, Face Your Fears, to share footage from It, while discussing his inspirations and influences.[226][227] On March 11, 2017, New Line Cinema showcased its promotion of It by releasing a teaser trailer and a scene at the South by Southwest festival.[228][229] Trace Thurman of Bloody Disgusting heralded the trailer: "It was maybe 90 seconds of footage, but it was a damn impressive 90 seconds of footage ... As far as teasers go, it's one of the best that I've ever seen."[230][231] Dread Central's Jonathan Barkan praised the scene, and stated, "The kids are clearly very adept at working off one another. There was a chemistry between the four that was wonderful to see and it’s obvious that Muschietti worked very hard to ensure they were believable."[232] Eric Vespe of Ain't It Cool News remarked that "... this one scene shows us the key traits of the bulk of the members of the Losers Club within one sequence. I loved it for that reason."[233]

On March 28, 2017, New Line released a 139-second teaser trailer to promote It,[234] following a 19-second trailer and the official teaser poster the prior day,[235][236][237] and for exhibitors at CinemaCon.[238][239] Tom Philip of GQ heralded the trailer and its tonality by stating: "Dark corners everywhere and a pervading sense of absolute doom, even in the scenes where the creature isn't looming. That projector scene! Christ!"[240] Michael Gold of The New York Times praised the trailer, and stated: "There's always tension in the sustained string chords of the soundtrack, and it imbues everything with suspense and darkness."[241] Wired's Brian Raftery spoke most highly of the trailer, to which he stated, "The teaser's scariest moment features no gore or gotcha-ness; instead, it involves a misfiring slide-projector and a barely discernible clown-grin. Nothing in the It trailer feels like a cheap thrill, which is all the more thrilling."[242] IndieWire's William Earl reacted positively to the "top-notch" production design of Derry, Maine within the trailer.[243] The trailer reached 197 million views in its first 24 hours, setting a new record as the trailer with the most views in one day.[244][245] In addition to dethroning The Fate of the Furious (2017), the trailer numbers surpassed previous records held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Fifty Shades Darker (2017), and Beauty and the Beast (2017).[246][247]

On May 7, 2017, a second teaser trailer, this one lasting 137 seconds, was shown at the MTV Movie & TV Awards in Los Angeles, California,[248][249][250] with the new preview showcasing a snippet of the film where the "Losers' Club" search for Pennywise's many victims.[251][252][253] Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone felt snippet of the film "was initially ... similar to Stand by Me (1986), with the Losers' Club playfully bantering about "gray water" ... A series of scary images soon follow before the trailer ends on Pennywise doing unimaginable balloon tricks to lure a victim."[254] Matt Goldberg of Collider.com praised the trailer, and stated: "This new trailer really plays up the kids' role and their fears. It's a smart move, because if a sequel does come along, it's going to be looking at the kids as adults, so that aspect will be lost."[255] Digital Spy's Jack Tomlin spoke of the clarity in that director Muschietti's film will carry on down the "creepy as hell" vibe he gave the first trailer.[256] On July 13, 2017, Entertainment Weekly released a collection of new images and concept art such as Pennywise's lair to promote It, including commentary from director Andrés Muschietti.[257][258][259][260] On July 19, 2017, New Line Cinema showcased its promotion of It, by releasing three reels of footage at San Diego Comic-Con,[261][262][263] before an advanced screening of Annabelle: Creation (2017).[264]

Reception

Box office

As of November 20, 2017, It has grossed $326.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $361.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $688 million, against a production budget of $35 million.[4]

In North America, initial opening weekend projections had the film grossing $50–60 million.[265] By the week of its release, estimates were raised to $60–70 million, with a chance to go higher if word of mouth was strong.[266][3] It opened in 4,103 theaters, setting the record for most venues for an R-rated film (beating Logan's 4,071 from the past March).[267] A few days before its release, the film became Fandango's top horror pre-seller of all-time, eclipsing Paranormal Activity 3 (2011), as well as setting the record as the site's top pre-seller among September releases, beating Sully (2016).[268] The film made $13.5 million from Thursday night previews, setting the record for highest amount by both an R-rated (besting Deadpool's $12.6 million) and a horror film.[269] Due to the high Thursday gross, Deadline.com noted some industry trackers upped weekend projections to $90 million. It went on to have an opening day of $50.2 million (including previews), increasing weekend projections to over $100 million. The film's Friday gross not only set a record for biggest single-day amount by an R-rated film (beating Deadpool's $47.3 million) but nearly eclipsed Paranormal Activity 3's entire weekend gross of $52.6 million, which was the highest opening weekend gross for a horror film.[270]

It went on to open to $123.1 million, setting the records for largest opening weekend for both a September release and a horror film, and was the second-biggest debut for an R-rated film behind Deadpool ($132.4 million). Variety and Deadline both noted that the film's opening weekend could have been even greater if not for Hurricane Irma shutting down nearly 50% of Florida's theaters, a state that typically accounts for 5% of the country's box office grosses.[271] During its first full week, the film made $8.8 million on Monday, $11.4 million on Tuesday, $7.9 million on Wednesday and $7.2 million on Thursday, each setting September records for their respective days.[272][273] In its second weekend the film grossed $60.1 million (a better-than-average for horror films drop of 51%), making more in its second weekend than previous opening record holder Paranormal Activity 3 made in its first, and again topped the box office. It also pushed the domestic total to $218.7 million, overtaking Crocodile Dundee for highest-grossing September film ($174.8 million in 1984).[274]

In its third week the film was dethroned by newcomer Kingsman: The Golden Circle, finishing second at the box office with $29.7 million.[275] In its fourth week, the film initially made a projected gross of $17.3 million, apparently retaking its top spot at the box office ahead of Kingsman ($17 million). However the following day, actual results had the film finishing in second by a gross of $16.93 million to $16.90 million, while beating out newcomer American Made ($16.8 million).[276] The film continued to hold well in the following weeks, making $10 million and $6.1 million in its fifth and sixth weeks, finishing a respective 3rd and 4th at the box office.[277]

Critical response

 
Bill Skarsgård's portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown received widespread praise from critics and audiences.

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 85% based on 288 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Well-acted and fiendishly frightening with an emotionally affecting story at its core, It amplifies the horror in Stephen King's classic story without losing touch with its heart."[278] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 70 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[279] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[270]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, saying: "What will REALLY put a chill down your spine and raise the hairs on the back of your neck are the moments when an adolescent character is isolated from friends, all alone in the cellar or the bathroom or the alley or a dark office, and something they've long feared springs to 'life' in a certain fashion, confirming their worst sense of dread and doom."[280] Andrew Barker of Variety praised the visuals and cast, while acknowledging the familiarities, calling the film "a collection of alternately terrifying, hallucinatory, and ludicrous nightmare imagery ... a series of well-crafted yet decreasingly effective suspense setpieces; and a series of well-acted coming-of-age sequences that don't quite fully mature."[281] Mark Kermode of The Guardian gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, writing that the film "is an energetic romp with crowd-pleasing appeal that isn't afraid to bare its gory teeth".[282] Christopher Orr of The Atlantic gave the film a mixed review, calling it "a solid but relatively conventional horror movie" and writing that it "privileges CGI scares over dread and nuance".[283]

Some critics were disappointed with the film's implementation of jump scares.[284] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune noted the film's "diminishing returns of one jump scare after another", writing that "nearly every scene begins and ends the same way, with a slow build ... leading up to a KAAA-WHUMMMMMM!!!! sound effect".[285] Eric Kohn of IndieWire praised the film's visuals but wrote that it "simplifies its appeal with jump scares",[286] and Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly lauded the child actors but wrote that "the more we see of Pennywise, the less scary he becomes".[287]

Accolades

It received a 2017 Golden Trailer Awards nomination for Best Horror,[288][289] which it subsequently won.[290]

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Golden Trailer Awards June 6, 2017 Best Horror It Won [291]

Sequel

On February 16, 2016, producer Roy Lee, in an interview with Collider.com, mentioned the final film of the planned It duology, remarking that: "[Dauberman] wrote the most recent draft working with [Muschietti], so it's being envisioned as two movies."[292] On July 19, 2017, Muschietti revealed that the plan is to get production underway for the sequel to It next spring, adding,[293][294] "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 30 years later as adults, with flashbacks to 1989 when they were kids."[295][296] 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."[297][298] Muschietti confirmed that two cut scenes from the film will hopefully be included in the second, one of which being the fire at the Black Spot from the book.[299]

On September 25, 2017, New Line Cinema announced that the sequel would be released on September 6, 2019,[300] with co-scriptwriter Gary Dauberman returning to write the script.[301]

Notes

  1. ^ Writers Andy Muschietti, Cary Fukunaga and David Kajganich refer to Skarsgård's character as Pennywise, in various interviews – most notably with Collider.com. Additionally the name Pennywise the Dancing Clown is what Pennywise introduces himself as to Georgie Denbrough; the term It isn't used in either of these cases.

References

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