Weekend Box Office Forecast: Bros and Smile

Photo Credits: Universal ("Bros"); Paramount ("Smile")

September and the third quarter of 2022 come to a close this weekend with a pair of original, major studio releases hoping to continue to the fall season’s slow box office rebound.

The runaway favorite to win the weekend is Paramount’s Smile, an R-rated horror pic tracking not far behind The Black Phone ($23.6 million) and well ahead of Barbarian ($10.5 million). The film’s long range forecast hasn’t deviated much in recent weeks as the studio’s marketing campaign has successfully captured social media attention, most recently going viral for in-person and on-camera promotion at Major League Baseball games.

Aiding the growing interest among horror fans are Smile‘s largely positive reviews, currently standing at 81 percent from 31 critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

The horror genre hasn’t had many major tentpole deliveries in recent months, though low-key titles like the aforementioned Barbarian and The Invitation have held over the target audience since summer’s Nope and Black Phone hit runs.

Paramount is distributing the film at an estimated 3,600 domestic locations this weekend with previews beginning at 7pm on Thursday. Smile also held Early Access screenings at select venues this past Tuesday.

Internationally, the film opens in 58 markets this weekend.

Courting laughs rather than frights, Universal is offering Bros as the latest original comedy hoping to draw a theatrical audience. Like its counterpart opener, the romantic comedy has generated strong reviews with a 96 percent Rotten Tomatoes score from 46 critics as of publishing.

Unfortunately, tracking hasn’t taken off in recent weeks as the film’s marketing footprint has left something to be desired despite the apparent quality of the film. Lacking any major star power is a factor to consider, but as the first theatrically exclusive rom-com led by an all-LGBTQ+ cast, fanfare for this release has been somewhat muted after an initial wave of buzz from industry previews and screenings earlier this year.

To that end, as an original comedy, it’s possible that staying power will grow with minimal competition in the weeks ahead. While some sleeper potential still exists, expectations are on the conservative side with the universe of tracking models coming in just ahead of Marry Me and Easter Sunday (both released by Universal earlier this year).

Bros will open at an estimated 3,300 North American theaters this weekend with previews starting at 5pm Thursday. Universal expects a debut around $10 million.

Weekend Ranges

Bros
Opening Range: $7 – 12 million

Smile
Opening Range: $17 – 22 million

Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections

Current projection ranges call for a 2 to 7 percent increase from last weekend’s $55.8 million top ten aggregate.

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, October 2 Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
Smile Paramount Pictures $19,000,000 $19,000,000 ~3,600 NEW
Bros Universal Pictures $8,800,000 $8,800,000 ~3,300 NEW
The Woman King Sony Pictures $7,800,000 $48,100,000 ~3,300 -29%
Don’t Worry Darling Warner Bros. Pictures $7,600,000 $33,500,000 ~4,113 -61%
Avatar (2022 Re-Issue) 20th Century Studios (Disney) $7,000,000 $21,500,000 ~1,860 -34%
Barbarian 20th Century Studios (Disney) $2,800,000 $33,200,000 ~2,400 -42%
DC League of Super-Pets Warner Bros. Pictures $1,600,000 $92,100,000 ~1,900 -8%
Bullet Train Sony Pictures $1,400,000 $101,400,000 ~1,800 -23%
Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pictures $1,200,000 $713,500,000 ~1,500 -26%
See How They Run Searchlight Pictures (Disney) $1,100,000 $8,100,000 ~1,700 -42%

*All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studiosThe above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

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