On paper, Smile might seems like another run-of-the-mill horror movie a la Ma or The Black Phone. It doesn’t seem like a movie that will go down as a classic or keep you up at night, but it might give you a good scare or two when you are trying to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and accidentally look at yourself in the mirror.
Director Parker Finn took the inherently silly premise of “hey, what if smiling was actually scary?” and just ran with it, which is a very honorable thing to do. But the real magic of Smile, which hits theaters this Friday, is their A+ marketing team that thought “hey, what if smiling while watching baseball was scary?” And it worked!
Smile follows a doctor, played by Sosie Bacon, who becomes haunted by smiling people after one of her patients attacks her. To promote the movie, Paramount decided to buy out some late-season MLB tickets (a very expensive endeavor!) and have seat fillers smiling for all nine innings on TV. We all know how hard that can be hard to do when you’re watching the Mets.
At first, Finn was unsure if people would notice.”I’ve got to say, Paramount marketing has been very clever with some of the tricks they’ve had up their sleeves for this film,” Finn told EW. “This is something that had been discussed a little while back and we were all kind of like crossing our fingers that somebody might notice.” The people definitely noticed.
Here’s some fun, clever movie promo – Paramount seemingly placed #Smile actors in the crowd at both the Yankees and Mets games last night, both in view of cameras. The results were indeed creepy. Going to a game this weekend? Watch out for the smiles! pic.twitter.com/aC3sqZjWvI
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) September 24, 2022
Dude in the blue, you’re scaring everybody pic.twitter.com/x0e4ekCLM4
— Steve Perrault (@Steve_Perrault) September 23, 2022
After the stunt went viral, Finn was impressed with just how much it worked. “It was happening just organically and it was overwhelming how much that took off,” he added. “It was just instantly everywhere. Kudos for them for their terrific idea.”
Considering the fact that the movie takes place in New Jersey…it’s definitely valid for people to be afraid! They don’t even have their own major league baseball team.
Smile hits theaters this Friday.