It opened in theaters last night, and to quite a bit of money and fans. The film took in $13.5 million from screenings starting at 7 p.m. And fans of the book may have been left wondering why a certain infamous scene from the classic novel was nowhere to be found in the film — but it was for good reason.
Spoilers for the novel It:
In the novel, after the Losers Club defeats Pennywise, the kids get lost in the sewers. Realizing the group needs to be unified to escape, Beverly decides to have sex with each of the male members of The Losers Club to bring the group together. Her plan works, and they all remember how to exit the tunnels and escape the sewer.
Obviously there is no way they could possibly put a group orgy featuring pre-teens onto a movie screen. The film already features child mutilation and deeply disturbing acts of violence and child abuse. Any scene with Bev and her father already turns the creepiness and discomfort to 11. And King himself said on his own message board in 2013 that the scene has not aged well:
“I wasn’t really thinking of the sexual aspect of it. The book dealt with childhood and adulthood –1958 and Grown Ups. The grown ups don’t remember their childhood. None of us remember what we did as children–we think we do, but we don’t remember it as it really happened. Intuitively, the Losers knew they had to be together again. The sexual act connected childhood and adulthood. It’s another version of the glass tunnel that connects the children’s library and the adult library. Times have changed since I wrote that scene and there is now more sensitivity to those issues.”
They left the scene out of the original 1990 TV film, as well (can you imagine if they hadn’t?). The filmmakers of the new movie did debate if they should include the scene, even going as far as to have Bev just take each boys face into her hands and connect with them on an emotional level in an early draft. Ultimately, however, they chose to leave that one out entirely. After the defeat of Pennywise, the kids just appear out of the sewers and don’t end up getting lost. One of the film’s writers spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the decision:
“Besides Georgie in the sewer [the opening], I think it’s the one scene that everybody kind of brings up and it’s such a shame. While it’s an important scene, it doesn’t define the book in any way I don’t think and shouldn’t. We know what the intent was of that scene and why he put it in there, and we tried to accomplish what the intent was in a different way.”
A tough subject to tackle, for sure; I do not envy them for having to deal with that.
It is in theaters now.
First seen on Entertainment Weekly.