A Smile Like Yours

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    • Directed By: Keith Samples
    • Written By: Kevin Meyer, Keith Samples
    • Release Date: August 22, 1997
    • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
    • Cast: Greg Kinnear, Lauren Holly, Joan Cusack

Box Office Info:
Budget: $25.6 millionFinanced by: Rysher
Domestic Gross: $3,330,352Overseas Gross: $0

a smile like yours 1997
After half a century in television, Rysher Entertainment went big screen in the late 90s and after three years of unprofitable pictures, the film division was shuttered one month before A Smile Like Yours was released.  Rysher had invested nearly $400M into their burgeoning movie business and the returns were disastrous.  Most of the company’s output was released via service deals with MGM for distribution or as co-financing arrangements with Paramount.  A Smile Like Yours was fully financed by Rysher and the picture went out through Paramount.

As Rysher was pumping out one flop after another and hemorrhaging capital, Rysher CEO Keith Samples began to neglect his failing company to fulfill his dream of becoming a movie director.  Samples decided to helm A Smile Like Yours and first attempted to land John Travolta and Sharon Stone in the lead roles, but eventually hired Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly — neither of which could draw flies to a theater.  Back in 1996, Samples had told the trades that the original budget was far higher when they were trying to court Travolta and Stone, but the budget for A Smile Like Yours was lowered to $25.6 million with the less expensive cast.

Rysher kicked off 1997 with their big budget turkey Turbulence, which ended as their biggest bomb and it’s huge loss was one of the main reasons the Rysher film division was soon shuttered.  Lauren Holly had also toplined that film and after her two dreadful performances in both Rysher flops, she never had another studio movie built around her.

A Smile Like Yours was first penciled in for an April ’97 release but it was pushed back to August 15 and then moved back a week to the late sleepy summer frame on Aug 22.  In May ’97, Samples was so confident about his future directing career that he resigned from Rysher to sign with CAA as a director.  After the complete critical and commercial failure of A Smile Like Yours, he only occasionally directed TV episodes and helmed straight to video schlock like Single White Female 2: The Psycho.  Two months after Samples left Rysher, the decision was made to scrap the film division.

With Rysher now out of the movie business, Paramount dumped A Smile Like Yours and clearly released the picture with all the effort of a contractual obligation.  It was booked into only 582 theaters, landed terrible reviews, had minimal marketing, no buzz and bowed into a saturated marketplace against G.I. Jane, Money Talks, Mimic, Leave It to Beaver and Masterminds.  It also would have to compete with other higher profile holdover adult fare — Air Force One, Conspiracy Theory, Cop Land and ContactSmile posted a miserable $1,163,576 — placing #15 for the slow weekend led by G.I. Jane.  It was quickly out of theaters with only $3,330,352 and it was sent straight to video in most overseas markets.

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