‘Smile’ Retains Top Spot with $17.6 Million as ‘Amsterdam’ Flops at the BO!!

Some parts of the weekend box office are alive, and some are dead, and that which is vibrant is Paramount’s second weekend of Smile, which — as we mentioned during the weekend preview — was apt to steal No. 1 away from newcomers Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and Amsterdam.

The Parker Finn R-rated horror film is posting the second-best hold ever for an R-rated horror movie, with an amazing -22% and $17.6M, after 2017’s Get Out, which eased -15%. This puts Smile‘s 10-day total just under $50M. Smile also owns the best non-holiday second weekend hold for a wide release during the pandemic era. Smile‘s second Saturday at $7.4M was up 38% over the pic’s second Friday of $5.4M. EntTelligence clocked 1.4M who saw Smile in weekend 2, to 900K admission for Lyle, Lyle Crocodile and 450K tickets punched for Amsterdam.

For all the talk that the marketplace hasn’t had a family film, and that Lyle, Lyle would organically over perform, that didn’t happen, as the Sony live-action animation hybrid pic took in an estimated $11.5M. Lyle, Lyle posted a $3.5M Friday (including previews) and $4.475M Saturday. The Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday tomorrow will get Lyle, Lyle over $13.4M through four days. What can we say? It’s not an IP that creates a stampede, clearly in the way that Peter Rabbit did.

Those buying tickets for Lyle, Lyle aren’t complaining at 4 stars and 80% positive and 62% recommend on ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak. Kids under 12 are more bullish at 88%. Demos are 54% women, 46% men, with close to half the audience under 25, and the largest quadrant being 18-24 year olds at 33%. Diversity demos were 47% Caucasian, 21% Latino and Hispanic, 12% Black, & 20% Asian/Other, with the best plays for the pic being in the South, South Central, and Midwest. The top gross for the Josh Gordon-Will Speck animation hybrid was the Cinemark in Frisco, Texas. Premium large format screens rep 14% of weekend ticket sales to date.

Horror movies clearly work, and that’s created a lot of excitement around genre producers about those types of movies succeeding in the off-bent late pandemic box office marketplace. However, period absurdist comedies do not resonate on a wide level. New Regency/20th Century Studios/Disney’s Amsterdam was DOA with $2.6M Friday, including previews, and a $6.5M third place debut. Saturday was off $300K next to first day previews and Friday with $2.3M. A third of the movie’s theater count of 3,005 are delivering 70% of their gross. Premium large format is driving 33% of the pic’s business. Six of the pic’s top ten runs came from Los Angeles.

The Russell fans who showed up gave the movie a B CinemaScore (Russell’s Oscar nominated all-star American Hustle earned a B+) and harsher reactions on PostTrak at 3 Stars and 72%. Pic skewed toward men at 56%, with the largest demo being 25-34 at 37%. Diversity demos were 57% Caucasian, 17% Latino and Hispanic, 12% Black, and 14% Asian/other. Men over 25 at 47% and women over 25 at 37% gave Amsterdam its best response at 75%. But the rest of the audience wasn’t on board, i.e. men and women under 25, who each showed up at 9% respectively and gave the movie a 61% and 55% grade.

The takeaway lesson here is not to send such overpriced fare at $80M to streaming, just to make theatrical movies at responsible prices for the big screen. Wes Anderson films don’t even cost this much, and that’s the best comp out there for Amsterdam (Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou was Anderson’s most expensive movie at $50M before P&A. That movie was deemed a dud back in 2004, with a $4.5M wide break opening, $24M domestic, and $34.8M — but the pic is now a cult classic. Alas, the legacy of a big screen launch). Amsterdam, in its all quirkiness and stars, deserves to be seen on the big screen, not a mobile phone. Also working against this movie is its running time of 2 hours and 14 minutes.

As we mentioned, this was a hard one for Disney to market: You can only promote what one can explain succinctly from the film materials at hand, and this wild, heady tale is up there with a plot that sounds like it’s from playwright Eugene Ionesco. Disney went with the boom-boom listing of all the stars in the pic’s trailer, moved the title’s opening to a better weekend where it won’t get steamrolled by Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Amsterdam was originally suppose to open during the first weekend of November) in its second weekend, and grabbed all the Imax screens.

What else can a major studio do to better position this offbeat tale? Many like to complain that Disney doesn’t know what to do with these titles. However, Amsterdam was a critically panned title, which avoided a film festival launch (there was buzz it was going to Toronto, then didn’t, which was likely the best choice for the movie). Aside from Life Aquatic, Disney has also been in this position before with another period comedy, the Coen BrothersThe Ladykillers starring Tom Hanks, back in 2004. That opened to $12.6M and ended its domestic run just under $40M.

Sure, it’s a sign of the times of how things have changed for these types of movies, and how hard it is at the box office for them. But period is always difficult. You need that critical love and awards momentum to cross over such fare. Let the record show, your honor, that Disney is releasing 11 theatrical titles between September and December from all its brands. It’s not just all about Disney+, even though Hocus Pocus 2 was the most-watched movie ever on the OTT service (many out there still scream, why didn’t that go to theatrical?!).

NEON’s pic-up of Cannes Palme d’Or winner The Triangle of Sadness from filmmaker Ruben Ostlund is seeing an estimated opening of $210K from ten runs in NYC, LA, San Francisco, and Toronto, for a $21K theater average, which I’m told is solid. Alamo Brooklyn and AMC Burbank led the way with 24,4K and 22,2K respectively weekend to date. The movie, which is 72% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and played to raucous laughs at Cannes, runs 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Todd Field’s return to feature directing after a 16-year hiatus, Tar, starring Cate Blanchett, is posting a solid $40K theater average or $160K opening weekend from four locations: NYC Lincoln Square, the Angelika, and AMC Century City and The Grove (LA’s arthouse market is on its knees with the closings of Arclight Hollywood and Landmark on Pico). That opening theater average is $10K shy of A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once’s $50K (different audience), and the $86K opening theater average of last year’s Licorice Pizza (still, a different younger audience than Tar).

However, it’s good enough for a 2-hour 38-minute running title about a stuffy classical composer, besting the pre-pandemic $10K opening weekend average of Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life which was booked at five theaters. Juicing grosses a bit this weekend was a Q&A at AMC Century City with Blanchett and Field on Friday. Focus believes in this movie so much that they’re platforming it throughout awards season rather than going wide over 17 days and segueing it onto PVOD and Peacock ultimately. Critics love this movie at 97% fresh which since its Venice and Telluride festival debut has propelled Blanchett to frontrunner Oscar Best Actress contending status.

It’s another $60M+ weekend at the box office for all titles, the third straight in a row, with an estimated $61.6M, -5% from last weekend’s Comscore reported $64.77M, and off a massive 59% from 2019, when Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Bron’s The Joker conquered October with a $96.2M opening. Even next to last year, when Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage opened to $90M, this weekend is down 52%.

1.) Smile (Par) 3,659 theaters (+14), Fri $5.4M (-34%), Sat $7.4M, Sun $4.8M, $17.6M (-22%), 3-day $49.9M/Wk 2

2.) Lyle, Lyle Crocodile (Sony) 4,350 theaters, Fri $3.5M, Sat $4.475M, Sun $3.45M 3-day $11.5M/Wk 1

3.) Amsterdam (Dis) 3,005 theaters, Fri $2.6M, Sat $2.4M, Sun $1.5M, 3-day $6.5M/Wk 1

4.) The Woman King (Sony) 3,342 (-162) theaters Fri $1.35M, Sat $2.3M , Sun $1.63M 3-day $5.3M (-26%)/Total $54.1M/Wk 4

5.) Don’t Worry Darling (NL/WB), 3,324 (-797) theaters, Fri $1.15M (-50%), Sat $1.4M, Sun $915K, 3-day $3.47M (-49%)/Total $38.45M/ Wk 3

6.) Avatar (re) (20th/Dis) 2,040 theaters (+180), Fri $655K (-44%), Sat $1.1M, Sun $760K, 3-day $2.6M (-47%), Total $783.7M (re-issue running total through ten days is $23.3M)/Wk 3 of re-issue

7.) Barbarian (20th/Dis) 2,160 theaters (-560), Fri $629k (-22%), Sat $940K Sun $611K  3-day $2.18M (-24%)/Total $36.5M/Wk 5

8.) Bros (Uni) 3,356 theaters (+6), Fri $690K (-63%), Sat $860K, Sun $600K  3-day $2.15M (-56%)/Total $8.89M/ Wk 2

9.) Ponniyan Selvan: Part One (Sar) 500 locations, Fri $264K (-87%), Sat $388K, Sun $242K, 3-day $894K (-78%)/Total $5.7M/ Wk 2

10.) Terrifier 2 (Iconic) 875 theaters, Fri $275K, Sat $350K, Sun $200K 3-day $825K, Total $1.22M/Wk 1


via Deadline

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