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Clowns see a drop in business because of 'It.' Should you be worried, too?
Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise in IT. - photo by Herb Scribner
Youve probably heard about a little film called It.

The horror film, based on the novel by Stephen King, broke box office records, earning an estimated $123.1 million, propelling it to first in the nation, according to CNN.

The film became the largest opening movie ever in September, beating the previous record by $75 million. Warner Bros said it was the largest opening earnings for any horror movie ever, too.

It finished third-place for the entire year, trailing only Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in opening weekend numbers, according to CNN.

The story follows a group of kids who are evading a demonic clown named Pennywise, who wrecks havoc upon a small Maine town and preys on the fear of children.

But for professional clowns, the films success is no joke. According to Business Insider, clowns have seen a drop in business since the films release.

For example, John Nelson, a professional clown, said hes received cancellations because of the movie.

Last week, my partner and I had six cancellations of birthday parties," Nelson told NBC New York. "I have heard of reports from other clowns, in New York and other cities, that they have been canceled as well."

Nelsons actually put on a rally in New York City, outside the Regal Cinema in Union Square, to prove clowns arent scary.

According to The New York Times, clown hysteria has popped up in Australia. Local media reported that a group of clowns plan to descend upon local towns, dressed up in clown gear and giant shoes, to scare people for no other reason.

A group called the Clown Purge Australia shared a photo of a clown with a red balloon a reference to It and a caption that recognized the recent horror film, too.

Police have begun to prepare themselves for any clown sightings, too, according to the New York Times. Not because they plan to arrest any clowns, but they want to make sure everyone is safe.

You cant just be arrested for wearing a clown suit, said a spokesman for the Western Australia Police. Its what youre doing at the time.

Last year, clown hysteria crashed like a wave across the United States. In South Carolina, residents of one community noticed clowns trying to lure children into the woods. And a creepy clown was spotted walking through Merrimack Colleges campuses with a rifle.

The clown hype reached Salt Lake City, too, as police officials investigated reported sightings at the time in a number of areas, the Deseret News reported.

Law enforcement said this was likely the result of social media hype, though.

Still, clowns based in Salt Lake City told the Deseret News that they saw a drop in business because of those sightings.

Theyre associating us with these idiots who are walking around with these masks on their face with professional clowns, Tom Butte, known as Sammy T Clown, told the Deseret News last year.

Others were pranked.

"You get a lot of prank calls, said Jeffrey Hansen, who works as JubJub the Clown. Kids mostly, thinking they're funny. Asking if I'm one of those clowns out there who's going to kill or rape other kids."

But Brenda Hattingh, who plays Boobiliboo the Clown, said this is nothing new for clowns.

Farmers deal with droughts where their entire crops are destroyed, she said. Clowns dealing with a temporary hit in the business happens with every business. This just happens to be actually weird. Its just a weird, odd occurrence.

Still, if youre freaking out about clowns, theres not much reason to worry. Police often say these sightings are nothing but social media hype, as the Deseret News reported last year. In fact, creepy clowns pop up all the time. For example, in 1991, clowns sprung up, much like they did in the late 1980s.

And plus, most people are generally scared of clowns, which is why theres always a hype around them, researcher Loren Coleman, a cryptozoologist who studies the folklore behind mythical creatures, told The Daily Beast.

Colemans theory called the Phantom Clown Theory posits that these trends of clown sightings and fears pop up because people are normally scared of clowns anyway, according to the Daily Beast.

There are certainly other types of people who creep us out (taxidermists and undertakers made a good showing on the creepy occupation spectrum), The Daily Beast reported. But they have their work cut out for them if they aspire to the level of creepiness that we automatically attribute to clowns.
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