Paramount is grinning widely this weekend as its creepy pic, Smile, continues to stay atop the chart in its sophomore outing with a projected gross of $16.8 million from 3,659 theaters. That would be a decline of just 26 percent, one of the best holds of all time for the horror genre.

Smile earned $5.4 million on Friday from 3,659 theaters, more than enough to come in ahead of Sony’s new family film Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, which earned $3.5 million Friday from 4,350 locations. Sony is anticipating a $12 million to $13 million weekend, but rivals have it at $11 million or less.

Heading into the weekend, most of Hollywood expected Lyle, Lyle, based on the kids book of the same name, to win the frame, even if narrowly. The film presently has a 68 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, and earned an A- CinemaScore from audiences.

The bomb of the weekend is David O. Russell’s star-packed film Amsterdam. The mystery-comedy is looking at a debut of $7 million or less from 2,005 locations after getting skewered by critics. It currently boasts a 33 critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the lowest of the filmmaker’s career, along with stars Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington. Audiences gave it a somewhat better ranking, or a B CinemaScore.

The movie earned $2.6 million on Friday to come in No. 3 behind Smile and Lyle, Lyle.

Amsterdam is a New Regency film distributed by Disney. As reviews started coming in, tracking lowered its projection to $10 million, since the film’s target audience — older adults — are more swayed by critics. However, even that number was bullish.

At one point, bullish box office analysts and exhibitors believed that Lyle, Lyle and Amsterdam could both open in the mid-teens. It’s still possible that projections could shift if Saturday shakes out differently than expected.

The Woman King and Don’t Worry Darling are expected to round out the top five, followed by the Avatar rerelease.

Unlike Smile, Bros is hardly happy in its second weekend. The gay-rom com, directed by Nicholas Stoller and Billy Eichner, is expected to come in No. 6 with just $2.3 million for a 10-day domestic total of $9 million. Eichner took to Twitter last weekend after the film’s fifth-place opening to say that homophobia was a major reason for the poor showing.

Elsewhere, the awards box office gets underway in earnest as Todd Field’s Tár and Ruben Ostlund’s Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness open in select theaters to promising numbers.

From Focus Features and starring Cate Blanchett, Tár looks to post the top location average of the weekend, or around $37,000, as it launches in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

Triangle of Sadness, from Neon, is opting for a wider opening footprint, or 72 locations. The Woody Harrelson-starrer is expected to post a location average of $21,000 or more.

Numbers will be updated Sunday.

Pamela McClintock

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