Box Office: ‘Smile’ Chomping Into $19 Million, Billy Eichner’s ‘Bros’ Debuting at No. 4

Box Office: ‘Smile’ Chomping Into $19 Million, Billy Eichner’s ‘Bros’ Debuting at No. 4


“Smile” has something grin about this weekend.

The creeper is projected to land a $19 million debut from 3,645 locations. Compared to other original horror entries this year, Universal’s supernatural kidnap thriller “The Black Phone” kicked off with $23 million while 20th Century Studios’ “Barbarian” opened to $10 million.

“Smile” landed a mildly positive “B-” grade through research firm Cinema Score, though such a figure is standard for a horror release. The film has drawn good buzz with solid reviews, scoring a 79% from top critics on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Variety‘s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised the film in his review, writing that it “sets up nearly everything — its highly effective creep factor, its well-executed if familiar shock tactics, its interlaced theme of trauma and suicide — before the opening credits.”

Paramount’s “Smile” stars Sosie Bacon as a therapist who witnesses a traumatic event at work and becomes haunted by creepy, smiling figures. It was written and directed by Parker Finn, and also stars Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey, Kal Penn and Rob Morgan.

The creepy horror film earned $2 million in Thursday previews, setting it up for a top debut. This weekend’s other big release, Billy Eichner’s LGBTQ rom-com “Bros,” grossed $500,000 in previews. The Universal release now looks to be making a muted opening, projecting a $4.7 million gross from 3,350 locations — enough for fourth at the box office.

“Bros” wasn’t a towering financial bet, carrying a modest $22 million production budget. Even so, an opening below $5 million marks a pretty discouraging start for the film.

Over the past few years, romantic comedies have faced an extremely diminished presence in theaters. This year saw the Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum two-hander “The Lost City” manage to cross $105 million at the domestic box office, but Jennifer Lopez’s “Marry Me” struggled ($22 million domestic) and Searchlight Pictures’ “Fire Island” debuted on Hulu, forgoing theaters entirely.

“Bros” has been embraced by critics, racking up a 92% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were receptive too, with the film earning a glowing “A” grade on Cinema Score. With a disappointing start at the box office, Universal will see how far strong word-of-mouth can take the film in the coming weeks.

“Bros” is the first gay rom-com to receive a wide theatrical release from a major studio. The film boasts an entirely LGBTQ cast. Directed by Nicholas Stoller, Eichner plays a cynical museum exec who falls for a buff lawyer (Luke Macfarlane). The film also stars Guy Branum, Ts Madison, Dot-Marie Jones, Bowen Yang and Jim Rash.

More to come…

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