“Smile,” the unsettling Paramount horror about grins, murder and suicide, has earned $2 million from Thursday previews at the domestic box office. On the other side of the cinematic spectrum, Universal’s “Bros,” a romantic comedy with entirely LGBTQ cast, has grossed $500,000.
As the two movies face off at the box office this weekend, “Smile” is expected to earn the top spot over “Bros” and defending champ, “Don’t Worry Darling,” which has earned $25.5 million in its first week of release. The horror movie is projected to earn between $16 million and $20 million this weekend. Paramount will be smiling from ear to ear with a box office haul anywhere in that range, seeing as the low-budget fright fest cost a measly $17 million to make.
Meanwhile, “Bros” is targeting a box office debut of $8 million to $10 million this weekend. If projections hold, that’s a mediocre result. But the film only cost Universal $22 million to make, so it’s not a financially risky proposition. And whether “Bros” soars or stumbles at the box office, it will have shattered glass ceilings. It’s the first gay rom-com to be given a theatrical release by a major studio, the first with an all-openly LGBTQ cast, and Billy Eichner is the first openly gay man to ever write and star in a Hollywood movie. To promote the film, Eichner even revived his popular “Billy on the Street” video segments, something that he said he would only do for a special occasion.
While the box office fortunes favor “Smile,” “Bros” seems to be winning with critics. The rom-com currently has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to “Smile’s” (still strong) 75%.
In “Bros,” Eichner plays Bobby, a brainy museum exec who falls for Luke Macfarlane’s Aaron, a buff lawyer. It’s directed by Nicholas Stoller with an ensemble that includes Guy Branum, Ts Madison, Dot-Marie Jones, Bowen Yang and Jim Rash.
“Smile” stars Sosie Bacon as a therapist who becomes haunted by visions and creepy, smiling figures only she can see. It was written and directed by Parker Finn.