The box office’s two newest entrants are having very different results, as Paramount’s “Smile” is having a good start in the No. 1 spot while Universal’s “Bros” is looking like the latest theatrical flop.
“Smile” is opening on the upper end of pre-release independent projections with $8.2 million earned on Friday from 3,645 locations and an estimated $19 million opening, which would be the third straight weekend that a No. 1 film has earned that amount.
That puts Parker Finn’s feature debut horror film already past its $17 million production budget and on course to turn a solid profit after marketing costs are recouped. Signs do, however, point to a frontloaded run as the film has a B- on CinemaScore to go with a 75% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 69% positive rating on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak.
But “Bros” is opening in the No. 4 spot, having grossed just $1.9 million from 3,350 locations on Friday with weekend estimates falling to just $4.75 million against a $22 million production budget. The first LGBT romantic comedy from a major studio wasn’t expected by analysts to perform well in rural states, but the film is also underperforming in coastal areas, falling far below projections of an $8-10 million opening even as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco comprise its entire Top 10 theaters list.
This is in spite of strong reception from those who have seen the film, as “Bros” has earned an A on CinemaScore to go with a 91% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. As always, there is still the chance that such strong word-of-mouth could give it a second wind; but as films like last year’s “In the Heights” has shown, that is not always the case.
Another film that is proving to be frontloaded is Warner Bros./New Line’s “Don’t Worry Darling,” which made $2.3 million on its second Friday for a 75% drop from opening day. Industry estimates have the Olivia Wilde thriller earning $7.4 million in its second weekend, which would be a 62% drop from its $19 million opening. The good news is that with a 10-day total of $33 million, “Darling” is still on its way to turning a profit against its $35 million budget.
Sony/eOne’s “The Woman King” is showing stronger legs in its third weekend, with Sony projecting a $6.2 million total to bring its domestic cume to $45.9 million. The historical epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood is inching closer to its break-even point as it has a $50 million budget co-financed by TriStar and eOne.
Completing the Top 5 is the Indian import “PS-1: Ponniyan Selvan Part One,” a Tamil-language historical epic that has earned an impressive $4.2 million from just 500 theaters, putting it just a step ahead of 20th Century’s “Avatar” re-release. While it is less than half of the $9.5 million opening that Telugu cult hit “RRR” made in April, the success of “PS-1” shows how Indian films are joining anime offerings as a reliable moneymaker in the struggling specialty market.