SATURDAY AM: Refresh for chart and more analysis Paramount and other studios are calling Smile at $19M opening. Similar to last weekend with New Line’s Don’t Worry Darling, another genre pic, this R-rated horror film has received a B- CinemaScore and a severe 69%/53% definite recommend on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak; a standard audience reaction for such fare. We see one studio calling Smile at $20M, and frankly with this audience score, and the front-loaded nature of horror films, only tonight will determine if this goes up. Last weekend, everyone got excited about the initial numbers they were seeing for Don’t Worry Darling, got excited and called the weekend at $20M on Saturday AM before it eased. Smile‘s Friday is $8.2M, which includes Thursday’s $2M previews.
Demos as is typical for R-rated horror here are 28% guys over 25, 27% women under 25, 25% guys under 25, and 20% women over 25. If you were at the AMC Porter Ranch last night in California, you wouldn’t know it was the doldrums of the fall box office as the place was hoppin’ like a 1920s speakeasy. The 18-34 bunch showed up at 73%. Diversity demos are 32% Caucasian, 32% Latino and Hispanic, 20% Black and 9% Asian, 8% other — Smile was always expected to play vibrantly across all demos. Best markets were in the West and Southwest. Eight of the top ten theaters were in the LA market. PLF screens drove 25% of ticket sales so far.
In second, Don’t Worry Darling at 4,121 theaters is eyeing a $7.4M second weekend, -62% for a 10-day of $32.9M. That’s in early AM estimates. Domestic outlook for this Florence Pugh-Harry Styles-Chris Pine starring, Olivia Widle directed New Line movie is $50M. Social media analytics corp RelishMix says “fans who state that they ‘have seen the film’, not only runs positive, but are also defending the film and suggesting that Don’t Worry Darling should be seen without watching the trailers so that audiences experience it with a clearest mindset.” Adds Relish in their latest report, “Some fans are throwing in spoilers as well as incidental political shrapnel into threads. Plus, there are explosive building new references to Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson who is now a subject of comparison to Chris Pine’s character in very recent interviews from director Olivia Wilde which are drawing even more attention.”
The pic’s social media universe stands at close to 184M now across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. YouTube views are driver while Instagram pages are where many of the behind-the-scenes and materials are being discovered along with added conversation and flaming chatter. Cast posts since the opening, have spiked and drawn media attention to Pugh’s two photo essays on Instagram last Friday with 2.5M likes and glowing comments. Wilde has added 124K fans during the last week on Instagram and strong engagement on her BTS posts. Styles posted on his concert Instagram and Twitter and popped another 1.4M on his HSHQ feeds too.
Universal’s wide release of the Billy Eichner co-scripted/starring LGBTQ romantic comedy Bros is coming up quite short in No. 4 with $4.75M, outpegged by TriStar’s The Woman King in No. 3 with $6.4M. Still, bravo for Uni for having the guts to make this movie, and put it out on the big screen. Friday was $1.8M with those who turned out for the film giving it a solid A Cinemascore and 80% on PostTrak, and a 69% recommend. Guys showed up at 60%, with 63% between 25-44. Diversity demos were 61% Caucasian, 19% Latino and Hispanic, 6% Black, and 14% Asian/other. The movie was always expected to play the big cities and here we see that NY, LA and San Francisco have all the top ten theatrical runs. Middle America and the South underperformed norms, we’re told. PLF screens only repped 3% of the pic’s B.O. to date.
How much money is the weekend domestic box office grossing without a mega-tentpole? Similar to last weekend. Industry estimates are at $61.3M, which is 3% behind last weekend’s $62.9M total and 35% off from the same weekend in 2019 pre-pandemic which was $94.5M — and that was considered low at the time (and now looks rich); the No. 1 pic then being the DreamWorks Animation title Abominable which debuted to $20.6M.
Popping into the top 5 is the Sarigama Cinemas title Ponniyan Selvan: Part One in 500 locations in 136 markets with a $4.1M opening after a $2.1M Friday. The glamorous Indian epic follows Vandiyathevan, who sets out to cross the Chola land to deliver a message from the Crown Prince Aditha Karikalan. Kundavai attempts to establish political peace in the land seemingly civil war plotted by vassals and petty chieftains. There were strong sales in NYC, LA, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, DC, Atlanta, Houston and Detroit for the Mani Ratnam-directed movie.
FRIDAY AM: Paramount’s horror movie Smile struck up $2M in Thursday night previews that started at 7 p.m., a figure that’s just above M. Night Shyamalan’s Old from summer 2021, which did $1.5M in its previews, and just under Universal/Blumhouse’s Black Phone Thursday previews which were $3M in June.
Paramount is expecting a high-teens start this weekend, while it won’t be shocking if Smile exceeds $20M. Black Phone opened to $23.6M. Critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for the new pic stand at 78% fresh, still good for a horror film. The movie from writer-director Parker Finn sits at 82% with RT audiences, which is very good. When the movie originally was conceived, there was a possibility it would go to Paramount+, however, a rock concert test screening propelled Smile‘s fate for a theatrical release.
Universal’s Bros, the LGBTQ romantic comedy starring and co-written by Billy Eichner, made $500K from 2,700 theaters, which started showtimes at 5 p.m. The studio is only expecting a number in the high single digits this weekend.
Meanwhile, New Line’s Olivia Wilde genre pic Don’t Worry Darling ended its first week with $25.5M. The pic’s cume for the first seven days is just slightly ahead of TriStar’s first week for The Woman King, which did $25.1M at 4,113 theaters. Don’t Worry Darling posted solid weekdays: $1.66M on Monday, $2M Tuesday, $1.3M Wednesday and $1.2M Thursday. The pic is expected to decline by 55%-60% in its second weekend, around $7.7M.
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Woman King made $720K on Thursday in second place, -4% from Wednesday, for a second week of $14.5M and running total of $39.7M. The Viola Davis movie was booked at 3,765 venues.
The rerelease of 20th Century Studios/Disney’s Avatar at 1,860 locations grossed $580K, -15% for a first week of $13.8M and running grand total of $774.3M — still the fourth-highest-grossing movie ever at the domestic box office after Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936.6M, 2015), Avengers: Endgame ($858.3M, 2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home ($814M, 2021).
20th Century Studios/Disney’s Barbarian made $6.6M in Week 3 for a running total of $30.2M. Thursday at 2,865 saw $370K, -17% from Wednesday.
A24’s Pearl in Week 2 made $2.8M at 2,982 sites with Thursday at $170K, -22% from Wednesday and a running total of $7.5M.