Smile Is Now The Biggest Original Horror Movie Of The Year At The Box Office

Perhaps not surprisingly, Halloween weekend was pretty good for horror movies. Famously, the weekend that precedes All Hallow's Eve is not generally a huge moneymaker, as people tend to have other things going on. In any event, Lionsgate took their shot by releasing the exorcism flick "Prey for the Devil," which ended up having to settle for third place with just $7 million. But the big story is that director Park Finn's "Smile" has become the little movie that could, as it is now the highest-grossing original horror film of 2022. That is no small thing.

"Smile" added $5 million to its domestic total, finishing in fourth place in its fifth weekend. It has been the hit of spooky season thus far and now, Paramount's latest has earned $92.3 million domestically to go with $93.6 million internationally. That brings its grand total, as of this writing, to just shy of $186 million worldwide. That officially puts it above Jordan Peele's "Nope" ($170.8 million) to become the biggest original horror movie of the year. Finishing above Peele's follow-up to "Us" is one heck of a claim to fame for Finn, as this represents his feature directorial debut.

What is perhaps most incredible about this film's success is that it was originally supposed to go directly to Paramount+. This could have been a streaming hit and nothing more. Yet, Paramount wisely opted to pivot after positive test screenings. Now, they have a movie that is probably going to make $200 million against a mere $17 million budget. That's the good s*** right there. And it means Parker Finn's next movie is probably going to be in high demand.

Horror continues to rule the charts

Overall, 2022 has been very encouraging for horror in the theatrical marketplace. Aside from superheroes, genre films are arguably the only other reliable form of entertainment that can bring moviegoers out en masse consistently. Let us not forget that "The Black Phone" made $160 million against a $17 million budget this year as well. Not to mention "Scream" or "Barbarian." Heck, even "The Invitation" cleared $33 million against a $10 million budget.

Plus, "Halloween Ends" is currently at $95 million globally despite suffering a huge week-to-week drop after it topped the charts, in no small part thanks to its Peacock release. The movie is going to clear $100 million even after seemingly everything went wrong. And "Terrifier 2," which was made for a mere $250,000 and had next to no marketing budget, has now made nearly $8 million and is a straight-up viral sensation. The absolutely brutal (and long) sequel is probably going to be a massive hit on streaming as a result.

In the end, original movies are still struggling and it's a mixed bag. "Everything Everywhere All At Once" is a glorious success story, while "Bros" was a downright tragedy. The movie business is still trying to find its footing outside of reliable franchise plays. For now at least, horror is a place where original cinema can still thrive, and that is a good thing.