Smile Made Scary Good Money At The Box Office Again, Amsterdam Made Scary Bad Money

After a downright miserable September at the box office, even a halfway decent weekend looks good by comparison. That's what we found ourselves with this week, as "Smile" once again took the top spot on the charts, becoming the first original horror movie of 2022 to take the number one spot two weeks in a row. Several other new flicks hit theaters this weekend including "Amsterdam" and "Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile," not to mention "Terrifier 2," all of which were gunning for very different audiences. The results were mixed, to say the very least of it. Let's dig in, shall we?

Smile has scary good staying power

According to Box Office Mojo, "Smile" took the number one spot in its second weekend with $17.6 million. That means, director Parker Finn's feature directorial debut dropped just 22.2% week-to-week, which is a tremendous hold for any movie. But considering even successful horror movies tend to fall hard, this is pretty amazing. As it stands, the film has earned $49.8 million domestically and a very impressive $40 million from overseas markets for a total just shy of $90 million thus far. It will sail past $100 million and could very well pass "The Black Phone" ("$160 million) to become the biggest non-franchise horror hit of the year. Impressive stuff.

Next weekend will be the big test as "Halloween Ends" rolls into town. There is zero question that Michael Myers' supposed last dance will top the charts (even with it releasing on Peacock as well), but if "Smile" can hold its own against arguably the most popular horror movie franchise in history, Paramount will have reason to celebrate. Regardless, I'd expect a sequel announcement soon. Or, at the very least, Paramount locking Finn down for his next feature, whatever that may be.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile misses, Amsterdam bombs big

The weekend's big new releases were both disappointments of varying degrees. The family-friendly "Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile" came in at number two with $11.5 million, which is not a great result by any stretch for a movie that cost $50 million (before marketing) to produce. But this is one Sony might have luck with on VOD and they can probably get some dough for it by licensing it to a streaming service. It won't be a hit though, no question about that.

It was Disney with the big misfire in the form of "Amsterdam," the latest from "American Hustle" filmmaker David O'Russell. With a huge, star-studded cast led by the likes of Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington, this is going to rank as one of the biggest bombs of the year. It earned just $6.5 million against a reported $80 million budget. Again, that's without marketing! It also was generally disliked by critics, meaning its awards season chances are slim. International audiences were little help, adding just $3.5 million to the pot. So $10 million against an $80 million budget to start. In a word? Yikes.

Tar and Triangle of Sadness get off to promising starts

In limited release, we had a couple of Oscar hopefuls getting in on the action. First up, there's "Triangle of Sadness," which opened to $210,000 in just 10 theaters. That's a nice start for Neon, the company that helped turned "Parasite" into a Best Picture winner just a couple of years back. The question, as it always is, remains whether or not this can find a wider audience in expansion.

Next up was "Tar" from Focus Features, which sees Cate Blanchett in the lead role. Blanchett is already getting major Best Actress buzz and, financially, we're off to a good start. In just four theaters, the film earned $160,000, making for a stellar $40,000 per screen average. Again, expansion can be tricky, but this is how platform releases get their legs underneath them.

And the rest...

"Terrifier 2" had a quietly good weekend, taking in $825,000 (and $1.2 million counting Thursday grosses), sneaking its way into the top ten, landing at number nine. The independently produced horror sequel has found unexpected love from critics and comes with a hulking runtime that stretches well over two hours. Be that as it may, this has brought a good deal of attention to Art the Clown's return with next to zero mainstream marketing.

"The Woman King" ($5.3 million) and "Don't Worry Darling" ($3.4 million) rounded out the top five for the weekend. Meanwhile, James Cameron's "Avatar" continued to rake it in with its re-release, adding another $2.5 million for a grand total of $71.9 million. This bodes very well for "Avatar: The Way of Water" in December.

Meanwhile, "Barbarian" ($2.18 million) continued its solid run, and now stands just shy of $40 million against a $4.5 million budget. A nice little win for Disney's 20th Century Studios. Unfortunately, Billy Eichner's "Bros" fell off a cliff, landing at number seven eight with just $2.15 million. It has made just shy of $9 million through two weekends and will now go down as a very disappointing flop.