IT (2017) Pitch Meeting Revisited

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Summary

  • 2017’s IT is considered the best adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic novel, despite making changes to the story and removing controversial elements.
  • Splitting the story into two parts, focusing on the Loser Club’s younger years in the first movie, allowed for better character exploration and audience bonding.
  • The movie’s effective scares and casting, along with smaller changes like setting the childhood years in the ’80s, made it easier for audiences to embrace the alterations from the novel.


As the Halloween season continues, the latest episode of Screen Rant‘s own Pitch Meeting series is looking back on its analysis of IT. The 2017 movie marked the second major adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic 1986 novel revolving around a group of misfit teens and their later adult years as they find themselves haunted by the eponymous shapeshifting entity typically taking on the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Helmed by Andy Muschietti and starring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, the first movie was a critical and commercial success, leading to It: Chapter Two, which garnered more mixed reviews and a lower box office haul.

With over five years gone since the movie first hit theaters, the latest episode of Screen Rant‘s Pitch Meeting series is looking back at 2017’s IT. As seen at the top of this article, the original video highlighted one of the biggest issues of the movie was its side-stepping of many of the book’s elements resulting in poorly explained sequences. Host Ryan George’s retrospective sees him reflecting on some of the jokes included in the original episode, namely spotlighting one of the book’s more troublesome moments with the Loser Club’s orgy after initially defeating Pennywise as teens.


Why 2017’s IT Is Still The Best Adaptation (Despite Its Changes)

Pennywise the Clown grins in IT Chapter 1

While Tim Curry’s miniseries remains one of the more beloved of King adaptations for the actor’s performance as Pennywise, 2017’s IT has largely proven to be the better translation of the novel. Where the 1990 version utilized flashbacks to cut between the Loser Club’s childhood and adult years returning to Derry, Muschietti and his creative team elected to split the story into two parts, with the first movie focused solely on their younger years. This not only better allowed audiences to enjoy the group’s bonding, but also better explored its characters individually.

The movie’s scares and effective casting also largely allowed audiences to embrace some of the changes made from King’s novel, ranging from smaller elements like the childhood years being in the ’80s instead of the ’50s to larger things like the removal of the aforementioned orgy scene. Already considered a controversial sequence when the novel was released, more modern audiences would have been appalled by seeing it adapted. The movie already toed the line of potentially sexualizing the teenage Beverly, hinting at an abusive relationship with her father and being the target of rumors regarding some of her classmates, including bully Henry Bowers.

Though the first IT took some creative liberties with King’s work, Chapter Two sought to bring some of the cut elements back from the novel, including the ancient turtle god Maturin and the Ritual of Chüd the group perform to try and defeat Pennywise. These elements were a large part of the mixed reviews the 2019 sequel scored, with critics finding the plot to generally be overstuffed while also feeling that this lore-heavy attention led to fewer scares that made the first movie a success. Regardless of how the duology ultimately panned out, Muschietti’s first IT movie remains one of the more acclaimed King adaptations.

Source: Pitch Meeting