Weekend Box Office: Smile Takes $22M Debut, Bros Stumbles w/ $4.8M, Bullet Train Reaches $100M

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

Smile

Paramount’s horror Smile led the box office with an estimated $22.0M, on the higher end of pre-release projections, which were around $19M.

In fact, Paramount’s tentative weekend estimate on Saturday was $19M, but by Sunday they’d increased it to $22M, owing to better-than-expected attendance. (As usual, actuals will be reported on Monday afternoons.)

Compared to other comparable pandemic-era horror titles, that opening is:

  • -7% behind June’s The Black Phone ($23.6M)
  • Even with 2021’s Candyman ($22.0M)
  • +30% above 2021’s Old ($16.8M)

It’s also comparable to the openings of several horror titles from 2019, the last pre-pandemic year:

  • -16% behind The Curse of La Llorona ($26.3M)
  • -10% behind Pet Sematary ($24.5M)
  • +5% above Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark ($20.9M)
  • +8% above Annabelle Comes Home ($20.2M)
  • +20% above 2019’s Escape Room ($18.2M)
  • +21% above MA ($18.0M)

Smile’s audience demographics were 52% male and 81% younger than 35. Only 40% of the audience was white, versus 32% Hispanic and 16% black. The film earned a “B-” CinemaScore, and 23% of its earnings came from PLF (Premium Large Format) screens.

Perhaps unexpectedly, Paramount also noted that the film over-performed in the southeast, despite Hurricane Ian battering that region of the country this weekend.

Its overseas opening weekend was $14.5M from 58 markets, for a $36.5M global opening. Top overseas market openings included the U.K. ($2.0M), France ($1.4M), Mexico ($1.1M), and Germany ($1.0M).

Don’t Worry Darling

Last weekend, Warner Bros. historical psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling debuted in first place with $19.3M. That was about in line with pre-release projection, if slightly on the lower end, with some projections having it closer to $22M.

This weekend, it falls a steep -62% to $7.3M and second place.

Compared to some other adult-skewing September releases from recent years which debuted with similar opening weekends around $20M, that’s a far steeper drop than:

  • 2011’s Moneyball (-38%)
  • 2012’s Looper (-42%)
  • September’s The Woman King (-42%)
  • 2019’s Ad Astra (-47%)
  • 2013’s Prisoners (-48%)

Word of mouth on Darling has been mixed to negative, with a 39% Rotten Tomatoes critics average and an 75% audience average, one of the wider such discrepancies in recent memory. The audience CinemaScore was a “B-.”

Overseas, the film has earned $21.9M in 63 markets, for a $54.7M global total. The top overseas markets totals include the U.K. ($6.9M), Mexico ($1.9M), France ($1.6M), Italy ($1.6M), and Germany ($1.4M).

Curiously, the film has experienced considerably milder declines in most overseas markets than domestically. While it fell -62% in the U.S., its other drops included only -11% in Germany, -15% in Switzerland, -29% in Denmark, and -30% in Austria.

The Woman King

On its third weekend, Sony Pictures’ historical action drama The Woman King, starring Viola Davis, declined -36% to $7.0M for third place.

Through 17 days (three weekends), it’s now earned $46.7M total. Compared to other comparable female-led action films starring Academy Award winners, that’s:

  • +9% above 2017’s Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron ($42.7M)
  • +17% above 2018’s Red Sparrow with Jennifer Lawrence ($39.6M)
  • +77% above 2018’s Annihilation with Natalie Portman ($26.2M)
  • +90% above 2017’s Kidnap with Halle Berry ($24.5M)

Compared to several other comparable action or historical drama titles of recent years, it’s:

  • -44% below 2016’s Hidden Figures ($83.7M, counting from its wide debut)
  • -32% below 2013’s Jackie Robinson biopic 42 ($69.0M)
  • -12% behind July’s Where the Crawdads Sing ($53.5M)
  • +19% above 2015’s Martin Luther King biopic Selma ($39.1M, counting from its wide debut)
  • +41% above 2018’s Widows, which also starred Viola Davis ($33.0M)
  • +47% above 2019’s Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet ($31.6M)
  • +58% above 2013’s 12 Years a Slave ($29.4M, counting from its wide debut)
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Overseas, Woman’s box office has barely started with $3.9M so far in only 13 markets, with it yet to open in most major countries. The top overseas market total to date is Brazil with $2.0M.

[Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood here.]

Bros

Universal’s romantic comedy Bros only claimed fourth place with $4.8M, below the $7-9M range and second place rank of most projections.

The movie is touted as the first major-studio theatrical gay romantic comedy, making true box office comparisons difficult, not to mention that it’s rated R. But versus some other (somewhat) comparable romantic comedies of recent years, albeit with straight protagonists, its opening was:

  • -36% below 2018’s The Big Sick ($7.5M)
  • -39% below February’s Marry Me ($7.9M, which opened day-and-date simultaneously in both cinemas and on Peacock)
  • -43% below 2017’s Home Again ($8.5M)
  • -44% below 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby ($8.5M)
  • -45% below 2014’s That Awkward Moment ($8.7M)
  • -50% below 2019’s Long Shot ($9.7M)
  • -58% below 2019’s Last Christmas ($11.4M)
  • -66% below 2019’s Isn’t It Romantic ($14.2M)

The most successful gay romance movie ever made, 2005’s Western historical drama Brokeback Mountain, earned $7.4M on its biggest weekend. And keep in mind that was in 2006 dollars, when movie tickets cost about -30% less than they do now.

Barring a better-than-expected hold in the weeks to come, Bros seems unlikely to exceed more than about one-third of Brokeback’s $83.0M domestic total.

Bros earned an “A” CinemaScore and claimed an estimated audience 46% ages 35+.

Avatar re-release

Last weekend, 20th Century Studios’ IMAX 3D re-release of James Cameron’s original 2009 Avatar earned $10.5M in third place. That was slightly on the higher end of pre-release projections, which were closer to the $8M-$9M range.

In its second frame, it fell -55% to $4.6M and fifth place.

Compared to other major theatrical re-releases of the past dozen or so years, that drop is milder than:

  • 2012’s re-release of 1991’s Beauty and the Beast (-50%)
  • 2013’s re-release of 1993’s Jurassic Park (-51%)
  • 2012’s re-release of 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (-65%)
  • August’s re-release of 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (-70%)
  • September’s re-release of 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home (-75%)
  • September’s re-release of 1975’s Jaws (-75%)

However, it’s steeper than:

  • 2011’s re-release of 1994’s The Lion King (-27%)
  • 2012’s re-release of James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic (-31%)
  • 2009’s re-release of 1995’s Toy Story (-38%)
  • 2010’s Avatar re-release, about eight months after its original release (-44%)

The re-release opening also took 93% of its earnings from 3D, a notably higher percentage than for the original Avatar’s 74% opening. In its second frame, the re-release earned a slight uptick in its 3D percentage with 97%.

Overseas, the re-release has earned $39.5M in 51 markets, for a $58.1M global total. Top market totals include France ($5.8M), Germany ($2.9M), U.K. ($2.6M), Italy ($2.6M), South Korea ($2.3M), and Mexico ($2.2M).

In overseas markets, 3D showings aren’t comprising the same percentage of the film’s box office as domestically, at 81% in Asia, 76% in Europe, and 70% in Latin America.

The Avatar re-release contains a mid-credits sequence containing a sneak peak of December’s sequel Avatar: The Way of Water.

PS-1 (Ponniyin Selvan: Part One)

The Indian Tamil-language action drama PS-1 (Ponniyin Selvan: Part One) started in sixth place with $4.1M.

Compared to some other Bollywood films of recent years, the Sarigama Cinemas release opened:

  • -56% behind the distributor’s March RRR: Rise, Roar, Revolt ($9.5M)
  • -9% behind September’s Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva ($4.5M)
  • +15% above 2014’s P.K. ($3.5M)
  • +26% above 2016’s Dangal ($3.2M)
  • +27% above 2015’s Baahubali: The Beginning ($3.2M)
  • +45% above 2015’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan ($2.8M)

Bullet Train

Sony Pictures’ R-rated action comedy Bullet Train actually increased by +32% this weekend to $2.4M, despite a mere +1% increase in screen count, to $2.4M and eighth place.

The film reached a $100M domestic total this weekend, specifically on Friday. This makes it the first film to cross that threshold since Elvis did two and a half months ago on July 15, several weeks after its June 24 release.

[Post-publication correction: Bullet Train is actually the first $100M since Nope on August 9.]

Barring an unforeseen breakout hit, this will likely be the only $100M hit for the four-month period between mid-July and mid-November, when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is released. (October’s Halloween Ends could potentially reach $100M, but installment Halloween Kills fell a bit short with $92.0M.)

[Post-publication correction: Other releases including October’s Black Adam and Ticket to Paradise are potential $100M grossers as well, with the former seeming particularly likely.]

[Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with Bullet Train director David Leitch here.]

Top Gun: Maverick

Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick declined only -24% to $1.2M and tenth place. That’s the #59 largest nineteenth weekend of all time.

After earning “only” the #41 opening weekend of all time ($126.7M), it remained near the top of all time for most frames since, never ranking below the top 15. The past month or so, though, it’s started to fall back back to earth, with the:

  • #29 sixteenth weekend of all time ($3.1M)
  • #40 seventeenth weekend ($2.2M)
  • #55 eighteenth weekend ($1.6M)
  • #59 nineteenth weekend ($1.2M)

One of the few films to ever record a higher nineteenth weekend? 1986’s original Top Gun, which ranks #7 all time on that measure with $3.2M.

Overseas, Maverick stands at $762.9M, for $1.47B globally – the top film of 2022 both globally and domestically.

Interviews

Boxoffice PRO has interviewed several filmmakers behind current releases:

  • The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood, here.
  • The Retaliators producers Michael Lombardi (who also stars) and Allen Kovac, here.
  • Bullet Train director David Leitch, here.
  • Beast director Baltasar Kormákur, here.
  • The Invitation director Jessica M. Thompson, here.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing director Olivia Newman, here.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $62.1M, which is:

  • Less than +1% above last weekend’s total ($61.8M), when Don’t Worry Darling led with $19.5M.
  • +60% above the equivalent weekend in 2021 ($38.7M), when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings led for a fourth consecutive frame with $13.0M.
  • -34% below the equivalent weekend in the last pre-pandemic year 2019 ($94.5M), when Abominable led with $20.6M.

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $5.63B. That’s:

  • 2.28x this same point in the pandemic recovery year of 2021 ($2.47B), down from 2.32x after last weekend.
  • -33.3% behind this same point in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year ($8.44B), down from -33.2% last weekend. The peak was around -29.5%, set in mid-July.

Top distributors

  1. Universal ($1.27B)
  2. Paramount ($1.20B)
  3. Disney ($880.9M)
  4. Sony Pictures ($758.5M)
  5. Warner Bros. ($751.7M)

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Smile $22,000,000   3,650   $6,027 $22,000,000 1 Paramount
Don’t Worry Darling $7,300,000 -62% 4,121 8 $1,771 $32,804,643 2 Warner Bros.
The Woman King $7,000,000 -36% 3,504 -261 $1,998 $46,713,156 3 Sony Pictures
Bros $4,800,000   3,350   $1,433 $4,800,000 1 Universal
Avatar (2022 re-release) $4,696,000 -55% 1,860 n/c $2,525 $18,592,763   20th Century Studios
Ponniyin Selvan: Part One $4,100,000   500   $8,200 $4,100,000 1 Sarigama Cinemas
Barbarian $2,817,000 -42% 2,720 -170 $1,036 $33,107,280 4 20th Century Studios
Bullet Train $2,400,000 32% 1,931 24 $1,243 $102,333,720 9 Sony Pictures
DC League of Super Pets $1,305,000 -25% 1,924 -427 $678 $91,693,642 10 Warner Bros.
Top Gun: Maverick $1,230,112 -24% 1,561 -464 $788 $713,457,000 19 Paramount
See How They Run $1,007,000 -47% 1,650 -852 $610 $7,946,056 3 Searchlight Pictures
Minions: The Rise of Gru $940,000 -11% 1,414 -228 $665 $366,825,085 14 Universal
Pearl $724,900 -62% 1,638 -1,344 $443 $8,256,229 3 A24
The Invitation $475,000 -54% 1,027 -649 $463 $23,951,601 6 Sony Pictures
Moonage Daydream $472,500 -48% 675 -58 $700 $3,438,343 3 Neon
Where the Crawdads Sing $180,000 -49% 548 -331 $328 $89,942,361 12 Sony Pictures
Beast $165,000 -57% 408 -342 $404 $31,699,890 7 Universal
Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva $135,000 -65% 170 -290 $794 $7,752,341 4 Fox Star India
Running The Bases $113,000 -53% 377 -320 $300 $1,272,942 3 UP2U Films
Nope $70,000 -60% 182 -131 $385 $123,252,400 11 Universal
Fall $68,000 -41% 112 -55 $607 $7,158,838 8 Lionsgate
Thor: Love and Thunder $41,000 -60% 105 -125 $390 $343,226,234 13 Walt Disney
RRR: Rise, Roar, Revolt $21,083   1   $21,083 $13,877,863 28 Sarigama Cinemas
Vesper $20,000   44   $455 $20,000 1 IFC Films
On the Come Up $14,671 -90% 145 -458 $101 $229,000 2 Paramount
Bodies Bodies Bodies $9,547 -51% 67 -105 $142 $11,434,410 9 A24
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On $9,291 -41% 21 -4 $442 $6,324,745 15 A24
Everything Everywhere All At Once $5,837 -38% 28 n/c $208 $70,006,221 28 A24

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