it trailer

Earlier this week, Warner Bros. unveiled the first trailer for Andres Muschietti’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s horror classic It. Aside from the idea of the filmmakers splitting the story into two separate films – one following a group of kids facing off against Pennywise the Clown, and a potential sequel picking up with them as adults – I thought it was a solid trailer that did a great job setting the tone for the scares to come. But I never would have guessed it would have set a new record for the most trailer views in 24 hours, so let’s take a closer look at what’s going on here.

it trailer

The Numbers

First up, let’s go over the numbers themselves. Today, Warner Bros. sent out a press release touting how the trailer quickly rose to the number one trending spot on YouTube and stayed there for the full day of its release. And YouTube wasn’t the only place the trailer lit up the internet:

At 24 hours, the IT trailer has seen more than 197 Million views globally with more than 81 million views and over 1.8 Million shares on the US Facebook instance alone. 

At 36 hours, that figure stands at an astonishing 246 million views!

The 197 Million views bests the previous 24 Hour record holder FATE OF THE FURIOUS who recorded 139 Million views in a single day.

I would never have guessed that It would absolutely destroy The Fate of the Furious’ record, and this may be the first sign that the movie could be a massive hit. It’s incredibly rare that horror trailers generate enough interest to top huge action franchises (let alone the eighth entry in a globally dominant one), so – barring some kind of accidental inflation of these numbers due to bot traffic – how did this happen? Let’s run down some potential causes.

Stephen King's It

The Nostalgia Factor

It was adapted into a TV mini-series in 1990, when many of today’s primary movie-goers were at the perfect age to have been scarred for life by a makeup-plastered Tim Curry as It/Pennywise. Our culture hasn’t fully moved on from fetishizing properties from the ’80s yet, but as the huge success of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast shows, the ’90s are now fair game too. So it’s fair to say there’s probably a lot of curiosity out there from people who watched the mini-series. But also keep in mind that when It was originally released in 1986, it was the best-selling book in the entire United States that year. So there are lots of people who read the book who are intrigued by the new movie.

It trailer, Stephen King's It

The Stranger Things Connection

While we don’t know exactly what the viewing numbers are for Netflix’s Stranger Things, we know that the show is a bonafide smash hit. It broke into the zeitgeist in a major way as soon as it debuted last year, and the upcoming second season is one of the most anticipated television events of 2017. The ’80s-set show, which took some clear cues from It author Stephen King, stars actor Finn Wolfhard as one of the protagonists, Mike Wheeler. Wolfhard also stars in It, playing the fast-talking member of the Losers Club, Richie Tozier (he’s the one with the glasses, standing just to the left of the projector in the photo above). There’s a chance the success of Stranger Things could have factored in to people being curious about this trailer, but a staggering number like 197 million seems to indicate that there’s a much wider audience out there than just Stranger Things fans.

pennywise

Clowns Are Scary

This may seem like a simple answer, but sometimes the simplest answers are the correct ones: clowns are freakin’ scary. Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) is a very real thing, and with the spate of news stories that gripped the country last year about people dressed as clowns creeping on people out in the woods, I wouldn’t be surprised if that drove some interest to this trailer. There’s also the fact that clowns have been depicted as creepy and/or evil in media for decades, with notable examples including the Joker, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and the Insane Clown Posse.

For many people, this fear begins at a young age and sticks with them into adulthood. Now we’ll just wait to see if audiences liked what they saw in the trailer enough to turn It into a giant box office success.

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