Runaway Horror Hit Smile Has Now Passed $200 Million At The Worldwide Box Office

Horror continues to show why it is the second most valuable genre at the box office behind the superhero industrial complex. This year's major horror success comes from Paramount with "Smile," which just crossed $200 million at the worldwide box office. The film, written and directed by Parker Finn, is now only $8 million behind the Chinese dramedy "Nice View" to become the highest grossing film of the year not based on any previous material. As "Nice View" was released back in February and barely made it out of China, "Smile" should be able to cross that film's $211 million haul.

Domestically, it almost has passed the $100 million mark, sitting at $99 million right now, so it should clear that in just a few days. Maybe it already will have when the weekend box office estimates turn to concrete numbers. "Smile" still has a bit of climb if it wants to pass Jordan Peele's "Nope" as the highest grossing horror film of the year domestically, and with the Halloween season now over, that could be a challenge. But considering the picture only had a $17 million budget, everyone at Paramount should be celebrating like crazy about "Smile," no matter where it ends up on the chart at the end of the year. It would be completely unsurprising if sequel talks were currently going on.

The benefit of not delaying an international release

What has made the box office success of "Smile" stand out is just how well it is doing internationally, where it has passed $100 million. This is in stark contrast to the international performance of a lot of horror favorites this year. "Nope" made $123 million domestically but only $47.5 million everywhere else. My favorite, "Barbarian," grossed almost $41 million in the United States and Canada but so far only a paltry $2.7 million internationally. Why the disparity? The major difference between them is the rollout. "Smile" hit theaters worldwide all on the same day, while "Nope" and "Barbarian" had weeks-long delays in their overseas rollout.

Because of the Internet, the pop culture world is more connected than ever. Studios and advertisers hype up a movie to get to the release date, but once the movie is out there, no matter how popular, the air starts getting let out of the balloon. After several weeks, the urgency to see something greatly diminishes. That can turn to frustration if the thing you are excited to see has already been seen by millions of people, but you can't get in on the action because the movie won't hit your country for several more weeks. "Barbarian" didn't hit theaters in the United Kingdom until almost two months after its domestic release. People in the US could watch it on HBO Max before folks in the UK could see it in a cinema.

Releases from major studios like "Smile," "Nope," and "Barbarian" don't need a well-crafted platform release like awards contenders. The hype is already there. "Smile" is proof positive of that, as was "The Black Phone" from this summer, which also released everywhere the same week and greatly benefited from it. The bottom line is: let people see your movie.