A new horror film from Paramount should put a grin on moviegoers’ faces this weekend.
Parker Finn‘s debut feature Smile scared up a strong $2 million from more than 3,000 theaters (shows began at 7 p.m.). On Friday, the pic expands into a total of 3,648 cinemas.
Tracking suggests Smile will open in the mid- to high-teens, but exhibitors and rivals believe it will overperform and possibly cross $20 million.
From Paramount Players and Temple Hill, Smile is about a therapist (Sosie Bacon) who meets a graduate student (Caitlin Stasey) who recently witnessed a gruesome suicide. Kyle Gallner, Robin Weigert and Kal Penn co-star.
“Parker Finn’s disquieting debut Smile transforms a congenial gesture into a threat. Smiles — warm and inviting by nature — mask deeper, more troubling intentions in this harrowing film about a demonic spirit that latches on to its victims’ traumas. The adage about grinning through hard times here takes on a sinister tone,” writes THR critic Lovia Gyarkye.
Smile should easily win the weekend ahead of Universal and Nicholas Stoller’s high-profile Bros, the first gay romantic comedy from a major Hollywood studio (Universal has been widely lauded for taking on the project).
Starring Billy Eichner, Bros was embraced by critics following its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival. It presently boasts a glowing 95 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes.
THR‘s review was slightly more mixed. “And certainly the dearth of mainstream/studio gay rom-coms makes one want to embrace Bros for the representational significance alone,” wrote John DeFore. “But was it wrong to hope for something a little stranger?”
Bros is eyeing a lukwarm opening in the single-digit range. It earned $500,000 in Thursday previews from 2,700 theaters with showings beginning at 5 p.m.