Smile: Paramount’s New Horror Film, Directing Debut of Parker Finn, Scores Bih at Box-Office

Parker Finn’s debut feature Smile scared up a strong $22 million from 3,645 theaters to top the weekend chart. The horror pic started off with $8.2 million on theaters on Friday — including $2 million in previews.

It cost just $17 million to make.

From Paramount Players and Temple Hill, Smile is about a therapist (Sosie Bacon) who meets a graduate student (Caitlin Stasey) who recently witnessed a gruesome suicide. Jessie T. Usher Kyle Gallner, Robin Weigert and Kal Penn co-star.

Smile is the latest commercial win for Paramount, and particularly for its marketing department, led by Marc Weinstock when at 20th Century Fox, he oversaw the maverick campaign for Deadpool.

Smile‘s campaign went viral in recent days when Paramount hired several people to maintain the film’s signature creepy smile when sitting behind home base at several major league baseball games.

“It was the exclamation point on a great campaign,” says Paramount president of production Chris Aronson.

Elsewhere, Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling fell off steeply in its sophomore outing. The New Line film earned $2.4 million on Friday from 4,121 locations for a $7.3 million weekend, a 62 percent drop and putting the movie’s 10-day domestic total at $32.8 million.

Tri-Star’s The Woman King came in No. 3 with $7 million from 3,504 cinemas — down just 36 percent — in its third weekend for a domestic cume nearing $47 million.

Avatar

The rerelease of Avatar continues to please and earned $4.7 million from 1,860 theaters for a 10-day domestic total of $18.1 million and $58.1 million globally.