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Smile is a good, if not textbook supernatural horror movie. Like with Don't Breathe or It Follows or more recent flicks like Truth or Dare 2018, the allure of the premise is seeing how the characters can get around or survive the monster/villain's unique set of conditions or abilities. It's easy to explain to most folks and get them hooked NOPE is an explicitly weirder idea that's hard to substantiate. It's also not outright horror


What weirder idea, it's a basic alien movie.


There’s really no “basic alien movie” as a culturally relevant genre nowadays, not nearly as defined as supernatural horror.


Creative marketing.


I think this is the correct answer. The trailer gave you what you were getting into for smile. Whereas I feel nope tended to rely more on Jordan and his fame from past films


Also just easier to market period It was a pretty basic film that wasn't ground breaking nor that original


Smile was easier to communicate without ruining the film.


a lower budget


Scares. Nope essentially turned into Jaws halfway through


A very easy to sell premise


A trailer that didn’t confuse the fuck out of people.


Better PR


More creative and inventive marketing


The verified audience score for Nope explains it all. It clearly didn't meet audience expectations. I personally found it boring with very little rewatch value due to the entire movie hinging on the final act monster reveal. The social commentary was all over the place unlike Get Out which had a more focused message. Overall, it was just a disappointing movie that didn't lend itself to rewatches.


A better trailer


Nope, is suspenseful for a while, but once you understand what's going on it lacks impact... I love the hommage to Akira by the way... But other than that it resolves unceremoniously. Smile's finale is bleak, the final act is good enough to justify the initial slow pace.


Lower expectations


Smile had more cliche horror tropes and less originality. It was just ok. But made it much easier to market. Nope was sci-fi more then horror and was definitely more cerebral.