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‘Smile’ Director Parker Finn Signs First-Look Deal With Paramount

Low-budget horror film grossed $217 million at global box office for the studio last fall

After his low-budget debut horror film “Smile” grossed $217 million at the global box office last fall, filmmaker Parker Finn has signed a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures.

“I am honored and thrilled to be joining the Paramount family,” Finn said in a statement. “Brian Robbins, Michael Ireland, Daria Cercek and everyone at Paramount have been truly fantastic partners, and I am grateful for their support and belief in the theatrical experience. I look forward to continuing our collaboration on genre stories that take bold chances and subvert expectations.”

Premiering at Fantastic Fest, “Smile” became a surprise addition to Paramount’s dominant 2022 at the box office, becoming the first original horror film in seven years to repeat No. 1 on the weekend box office charts. The film’s global total also exceeded that of several critically acclaimed horror films last year, including the $171 million total of Jordan Peele’s “Nope.”

“’Smile”s breakthrough success is a testament to Parker’s unique and fresh filmmaking, and we are thrilled that he will make Paramount his home,” said Paramount President/CEO Brian Robbins.

“Parker knows how to keep people on the edge of their seat and we’re happy that we get to keep scaring audiences together,” added Paramount’s motion picture group co-presidents Mike Ireland and Daria Cercek.

While Paramount has been mining its IP portfolio for box office hits with films from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Dungeons & Dragons” on their way later this year, the studio is also joining in the rush among their competitors to sign filmmakers to first-look deals. While Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon” ended up being the sole box office dud on Paramount’s slate last year, the studio showed their continued confidence and interest in the director by signing Chazelle to a first-look deal shortly before the film’s release.