Horror pic ‘Smile’ happy at No. 1; ‘Bros’ starts in 4th

Oct 2, 2022, 8:34 AM | Updated: Oct 3, 2022, 9:08 am
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Billy Eichner in a scene from "Bros." (Nicole Rivel...

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Billy Eichner in a scene from "Bros." (Nicole Rivelli/Universal Pictures via AP)

(Nicole Rivelli/Universal Pictures via AP)

Moviegoing audiences chose the horror movie over the romantic comedy to kick off the month of October. Paramount’s ” Smile ” topped the North American charts with $22 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday, leaving Billy Eichner’s rom-com “Bros” in the dust.

Universal’s ” Bros ” launched with an estimated $4.8 million to take fourth place behind “Don’t Worry Darling” ($7.3 million) and “The Woman King” ($7 million). But opening weekends likely aren’t the final word on either “Bros” or “Smile.” Horror movie audiences are generally front-loaded, dropping off steeply after the first weekend, while something like “Bros,” which got great reviews and an A CinemaScore, suggesting strong word-of-mouth potential, is a movie that could continue finding audiences through the fall. It is not unusual for R-rated comedies to open modestly and catch on later.

“Everyone who sees it absolutely loves it,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “Billy Eichner, (director) Nick Stoller and Judd Apatow have created a movie that’s heartwarming and hysterically funny.”

“Bros” is significant for being the first gay rom-com given a wide theatrical release by a major studio, as well as the first studio movie starring and co-written by an openly gay man. Since premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, the film has gotten stellar reviews from critics and also been the target of “review bombs” on IMDB. The site last week removed removed hundreds of one-star reviews for “Bros” that were logged before the film was released.

It’s also hard to compete with a new horror movie in October. “Smile,” written and directed by Parker Finn in his directorial debut, stars Sosie Bacon as a therapist haunted by smiling faces after a traumatic event.

According to exit polls, 52% of the audience was male and 68% were ages 18-34 for the R-rated film. Playing in 3,645 locations, “Smile” started strong with $2 million from Thursday night previews, too, and had a 4% uptick Saturday, which is almost unheard of for genre films that usually decline after the first night.

“Smile” also cost only $17 million to produce.

“It’s remarkable, particularly when you take the budget into account. It’s just a terrific result and validated our thoughts about the movie as a whole,” said Chris Aronson, Paramount’s president of domestic distribution. “That Saturday uptick bodes well for the long-term playability.”

The “Smile” marketing team last weekend planted smiling actors at baseball games around the country as a marketing stunt, which Aronson said helped push the movie over the top.

“‘Smile’ just shows once again that the horror genre should be put on a pedestal by theater owners,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore.

Second place went to “Don’t Worry Darling” in its second weekend in theaters, with $7.3 million, down 64% from its opening. The mid-century-styled psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles has earned $32.8 million domestically against a $35 million production budget.

And “The Woman King” was close behind in third place in its third weekend, with an estimated $7 million, down only 36% from last weekend. The historical war epic directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood stars Viola Davis as an Agojie general and has made $46.7 million.

Rounding out the top five was the re-release of “Avatar,” with $4.7 million from 1,860 locations.

Notably, the film with the highest per-theater average was the Indian epic “Ponniyin Selvan: I,” which earned $4.1 million from just 510 theaters. It’s one of several Indian blockbusters to perform well in North America recently, including “RRR” and “Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva.”

“It was a solid weekend,” Dergarabedian said. “We’re not going to get into the $100 million-plus weekends until ‘Black Adam,’ but audiences are getting a really diverse slate of movies to see on the big screen.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Smile,” $22 million.

2. “Don’t Worry Darling,” $7.3 million.

3. “The Woman King,” $7 million.

4. “Bros,” $4.8 million.

5. “Avatar” (re-release), $4.7 million.

6. “Ponniyin Selvan: I,” $4.1 million.

7. “Barbarian,” $2.8 million.

8. “Bullet Train,” $1.4 million.

9. “DC League of Super-Pets,” $1.3 million.

10. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $1.2 million.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              This image released by Universal Pictures shows Luke Macfarlane, right, and Billy Eichner in a scene from "Bros." (Nicole Rivelli/Universal Pictures via AP)
            
              This image released by Universal Pictures shows Billy Eichner in a scene from "Bros." (Nicole Rivelli/Universal Pictures via AP)
            
              This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Sosie Bacon, left, and and Jack Sochet in a scene from "Smile." (Paramount Pictures via AP)
            
              This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Sosie Bacon in a scene from "Smile." (Paramount Pictures via AP)

AP

FILE - A station passageway is crowded with commuters in Tokyo, April 27, 2020. Japan’s parliamen...
Associated Press

Japan OKs $216B extra budget to counter impact of inflation

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s parliament approved a hefty 29 trillion yen ($216 billion) supplementary budget Friday aimed at countering the blow to household finances from rising food and utility costs and the weaker yen. It is the second batch of supplementary spending this year to help boost the economy. The extra spending, funded mainly by […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Pentagon debuts its new stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s newest nuclear stealth bomber is making its public debut after years of secret development and as part of the Pentagon’s answer to rising concerns over a future conflict with China. The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years. Almost every aspect of the program […]
5 hours ago
FILE - Protesters hold up blank papers and chant slogans as they march in protest in Beijing, Sunda...
Associated Press

Hong Kong divided over China’s COVID-19 protests

HONG KONG (AP) — The recent wave of protests against China’s anti-virus restrictions was a ray of hope for some supporters of Hong Kong’s own pro-democracy movement after local authorities stifled it using a national security law enacted in 2020. Thomas So, who joined about a dozen students from the Chinese mainland staging a rare […]
5 hours ago
Ukrainian servicemen give the first aid to a soldier wounded in a battle with the Russian troops in...
Associated Press

Official says over 10,000 Ukrainian troops killed in war

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A top adviser to Ukraine’s president has cited military chiefs as saying 10,000 to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the country’s nine-month struggle against Russia’s invasion, a rare comment on such figures and far below estimates of Ukrainian casualties from Western leaders. Russian forces kept up rocket attacks on […]
5 hours ago
In this photo released by Army's public relations wing 'Inter Services Public Relations', Pakistan'...
Associated Press

US names anti-Pakistan groups ‘terrorist’ organizations

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The United States has added a key anti-Pakistani militant group and its al-Qaida branch to its list of “global terrorists,” triggering sanctions against the groups amid a resurgence of militant violence in this Islamic nation. Both groups operate from Afghanistan, but they have hideouts in Pakistan’s former tribal regions in the northwest […]
5 hours ago
Pedestrians are seen reflected on monitors showing the U.S. NASDAQ and other countries' stock marke...
Associated Press

Asian shares sink on revived worries over recession, China

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares retreated in Europe and Asia on Friday ahead of the release of U.S. jobs data. Optimism over moves by China to ease strict pandemic controls appeared to have faded, replaced by worries over indications recession may be looming. Oil prices fell as the European Union was edging closer to a $60-per-barrel […]
5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Horror pic ‘Smile’ happy at No. 1; ‘Bros’ starts in 4th