Look at That ‘Smile’: It’s #1 Again in an Otherwise Dire October

October box office started not much better than the sad September. Despite two new wide studio releases, this weekend estimate of $61 million is down from last weekend’s $63 million.

Neither Sony’s animated “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” nor David O. Russell’s “Amsterdam” performed close to their modest hopes. And that allowed last weekend’s surprise hit “Smile” (Paramount) repeat as #1. With a stellar hold — off only 22 percent, good for any second weekend, unheard of for a horror release — and a gross of $17.6 million (the second straight week over its production cost), “Smile” saved us from total disaster.

Sony has a good track record with animated features like the “Hotel Transylvania” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” franchises. “Lyle,” based on the 1960s children’s-book series, was a $50 million production positioned to benefit from the dearth of similar releases. It performed at a level the studio suggested, but it is at the low end of expectations for similar titles.


Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Of the seven non-franchise wide studio releases over the last four weeks, “Amsterdam” is the most expensive at $80 million. It grossed $6.8 million, a weak figure lifted by major presence in IMAX theaters, and did better only than the ill-fated “Bros” (Universal). It had a three-time Oscar nominee director in Russell, and the cast included Oscar-winner Christian Bale, two-time Oscar nominee Margot Robbie, and John David Robinson).

It also had career-worst reviews for Russell (Metacritic score:47), an obscure plot, and the need to draw tough-to-reach older audiences. It is a Fox production, though at this point that studio is fully integrated with Disney. That production unit also provided the low-budget “Barbarian,” which has grossed $36 million to date and continues to hold.

A year ago, both “Barbarian” and “Smile” might have seemed headed for streaming debuts with or without same-day theatrical. Their successes, and enhanced value for later home access, is a key sign of positive post-Covid results.

What they aren’t is enough to sustain a business that’s still in dire need of a rebound. This weekend was only 41 percent of the same date in 2019 (that’s when “The Joker” opened) and 56 percent of 2021 (“No Time to Die”). The four-week running total compared to similar three years back falls to 44 percent, tying the worst level since early this year.

While “Smile” is now positioned for a stellar domestic total of $80 million and higher, “Bros” went from bad to worse its second weekend. Despite an A Cinemascore that suggests strong word of mouth and good holds, the gay rom-com fell 56 percent and dropped to #8. Noted: Badmouthing audiences and complaining about grosses is not a valid post-opening weekend strategy.

“Black Adam”


This weekend puts even more pressure on “Black Adam” (Warner Bros. Discovery) to deliver next weekend. The DC Comics “Shazam!” spinoff starring Dwayne Johnson is the month’s most essential element, especially after this weekend’s shortfall jeopardized the month’s hoped-for total of $500 million.

“Black Adam” projections are in the range of $70 million-$75 million. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney) are expected to generate hauls in the multi-hundreds of millions hauls, but in the meantime ink flows red.

This weekend saw the return to awards-season specialized releases, with good showings for two highly anticipated films in limited openings. “TÁR” (Focus) with Cate Blanchett saw a $40,000 per-theater average in four New York/Los Angeles locations, while Cannes Palme d’or winner “Triangle of Sadness,” playing in six cities and 10 theaters, had a healthy $21,000 average. More detailed coverage of these and other specialized titles can be seen in our separate report.

For the first time in 20 weeks, “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount) failed to place in the top 10 and fell to #11. Even so, it grossed $800,000 despite nearly two months of home availability.


The Top 10

1. Smile (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$17,600,000 (-22%) in 3,659 (+14) theaters; PTA (per theater average): $4,810; Cumulative: $49,895,000

2. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 49; Est. budget: $50 million

$11,500,000 in 4,350 theaters; PTA: $2,644; Cumulative: $11,500,000

3. Amsterdam (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 47; Est. budget: $80 million

$6,500,000 in 3,005 theaters; PTA: $2,163; Cumulative: $6,500,000

4. The Woman King (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #3

$5,300,000 (-22%) in 3,342 (-162) theaters; PTA: $1,586; Cumulative: $54,130,000

5. Don’t Worry Darling (WBD) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$3,475,000 (-49%) in 3,324 (-797) theaters; PTA: $1,045; Cumulative: $38,451,000

6. Avatar (Disney) REISSUE; Last weekend #5; also on VOD

$2,560,000 (-49%) in 2,040 (+180) theaters; PTA: $1,255; Cumulative: $(adjusted) $914,800,000

7. Barbarian (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #8

$2,180,000 (-23%) in 2,160 (-560) theaters; PTA: $1,009; Cumulative: $36,530,000

8. Bros (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #4

$2,150,000 (-56%) in 3,356 (+6) in theaters; PTA: $641; Cumulative: $8,894,000

9. Ponniyan Selvan I (Sarigama) Week 2; Last weekend #6

$(est.) 900,000 in 500 (-4) theaters; PTA: $1,800; Cumulative: $(est.) 4,900,000

10. Terrifier 2 (Cinedigm/Iconic) NEW – Metacritic: 68

$825,000 in 886 theaters; PTA: $931; Cumulative: $1,229,000




Additional specialized/limited/independent releases

Vikham Vehda (Reliance) NEW

$(est.) 980,000 in 558 theaters; PTA: $1,756

The Good House (Roadside Attractions) NEW – Metacritic:62; Festivals include: Toronto 2021

$834,170 in 1,062 theaters; PTA: $785

Vesper (IFC) NEW – Metacritic:70; Festivals include: Karlovy Vary 2022; also on VOD

$20,000 in 44 theaters; PTA: $455

Sirens (Oscilloscope) NEW – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: Karoly Vary 2022

$8,890 in theaters; PTA: $8,890

On the Come Up (Paramount) Week 2; also on Paramount +

$14,671 in 145 (-458) theaters; PTA: $101; Cumulative: $229,000

Pearl (A24) Week 3

$724,900  in 1,638 (-1,344) theaters;  Cumulative: $8,246,000

See How They Run (Searchlight) Week 3

$1,007,000 in 1,650 (-754) theaters; Cumulative: $7,946,000

Moonage Daydream (Neon) Week 3

$472,500 in 675 (-58) theaters; Cumulative: $3,438,000

Running the Bases (UPU2) Week 3

$113,000 in 377 (-320) theaters;  Cumulative: $1,273,000

 Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva (Disney) Week 4

$135,000 in 170 (-290) theaters; Cumulative: $7,752,000

Gigi & Nate (Roadside Attractions) – Week 4

$10,690 in 56 (-79) theaters; Cumulative: $2,265,000

Bodies Bodies Bodies (A24) Week 9

$9,547 in 67 (-105) theaters; Cumulative: $11,434,000

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (A24) Week 14; also on PVOD

$9,291 in 21 (-4) theaters; Cumulative: $6,325,000

Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 27; also on PVOD   28

$5,837 in 28 (no change) theaters; Cumulative: $70,006,000

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