Smile has topped the box office, making back its budget in just one weekend. The film, which opened on September 30, was written and directed by Parker Finn, making his feature debut. The cast includes Mare of Easttown‘s Sosie Bacon, The Boys‘ Jessie T. Usher, Veronica Mars‘ Kyle Gallner, Neighbours‘ Caitlin Stasey, Harold and Kumar‘s Kal Penn, and Marvel’s Defenders universe recurring star Rob Morgan.
Smile follows Dr. Rose Cotter (Bacon), who witnesses the death of a psychiatric patient. After this incident, she begins to see the people around her exhibiting strange behavior – namely, a creepy, unwavering smile. While at first it seems as if she is experiencing hallucinations, she works to get to the bottom of what may be a supernatural threat to her life.
Per Variety, Smile is topping the weekend with a domestic box office gross of $22 million, handily besting the other new wide release, the LGBTQ+ rom-com Bros. Considering the fact that the horror thriller had a production budget of $17 million, it is likely already in the black, or at least well on its way once the publicity and advertising budget is figured in. Considering the fact that it’s the only wide-release horror film in theaters until Halloween Ends premieres on October 14, it will likely continue snapping up moviegoers who are hoping to get a fright this Halloween season.
2022 Has Been a Stellar Year for Paramount at the Box Office
This result for Smile is just the cherry on top of what has proven to be an incredible year for Paramount. In a time when it seems that the only box office hits are superhero movies, the studio has swooped in with a string of hits, beginning in January with the slasher sequel Scream. They have had other titles perform above expectations, including the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum romantic adventure film The Lost City and the weirdo horror prequel Orphan: First Kill, but their crown jewel is the decades-later sequel Top Gun: Maverick. The film, which is the first sequel to the 1986 hit Top Gun, premiered on May 27 and remains in the box office Top 10 to this day despite now being available on VOD and home video, soaring past a total of $1.47 billion worldwide.
This incredible result for Smile and Paramount doesn’t necessarily mean that the box office has entirely recovered, however. This weekend comes at the end of one of the worst box office Septembers in quite some time (and such a slow Labor Day weekend that Top Gun: Maverick returned to #1, 14 weeks after its premiere), with a lack of huge releases leading to a series of terrifyingly slow weekends. However, the fact that Paramount is making a huge splash with both unexpected IP hits and original films shows that the movie industry may still have some fight left in it.