The second weekend of Tom Hanks’ “Sully” looks to keep its domestic box office crown with about $21 million at 3,525 locations, early estimates showed Friday.
The horror sequel “Blair Witch” is heading for second place with about $17 million at 3,121 sites, including around $7 million for its opening day Friday and $765,000 in Thursday night previews. That’s in line with Lionsgate forecasts for the low-cost project.
Universal’s “Bridget Jones’s Baby” looks likely to finish third with about $13 million at 2,927 screens with an opening day of around $5 million. Open Road’s biopic “Snowden,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is headed for fourth with around $7.3 million at 2,423 sites.
Warner Bros.’ “Sully,” co-financed by Village Roadshow, has taken in $45.7 million in its first six days and carries plenty of strong word of mouth, having generated an A CinemaScore on its opening weekend. Should the $21 million estimate hold for the second weekend, it would represent a 40% decline.
“Sully,” directed by Clint Eastwood, recreates the “Miracle on the Hudson” emergency landing of a U.S. Airways jet on the Hudson River in 2009. It’s the first teaming of Eastwood and Hanks, who remains a strong draw among older moviegoers — demonstrated by relatively small declines in the second weekends of recent films “Bridge of Spies” and “Captain Phillips.”
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, noted that the newcomers embody the thematic unpredictability of the fall movie season.
“‘Blair Witch,’ ‘Snowden’ and ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ carrying only an R-rating in common and offering audiences a choice of horror, real life drama or comedy in one fell swoop,” he said. “With ‘Sully’ poised for an extremely modest descent in its sophomore frame, this should be an interesting weekend that will clearly have a very tough time matching the year ago comparison to the $53 million combined opening weekend grosses of the top two films ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ and ‘Black Mass.'”
“Blair Witch” is debuting after a summer that saw horror movies deliver solid performances throughout, such as “The Conjuring 2,” “The Purge: Election Year,” “Lights Out” and “Don’t Breathe.” Lionsgate revealed “Blair Witch” in July at Comic-Con at what had been billed as a screening of “The Woods,” releasing a poster and trailer.
The updated story, directed by Adam Wingard, is set in the remote Maryland woods where three filmmakers disappeared 20 years ago. “Blair Witch,” the third film in the franchise, premiered on Sept. 11 at the Toronto Film Festival.
The first film, 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project,” was a box office sensation with nearly $250 million in worldwide grosses, including $29 million in its first weekend of wide release in the U.S. The 2000 sequel, “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” grossed $48 million worldwide after a $13 million opening weekend in the U.S.
“Bridget Jones’s Baby” is a $35 million production from Universal, StudioCanal, Miramax and Working Title with Renée Zellweger in the third installment in the series, a dozen years after “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” was released. The film also marks the return of Colin Firth, with Patrick Dempsey and Emma Thompson as newcomers.
Sharon Maguire, who also directed the original “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” is the helmer in the new movie in which Bridget is unexpectedly pregnant. Both “Bridget Jones” movies grossed more than $200 million abroad. “Bridget Jones’s Baby” is being released in 40 territories this weekend.
“Snowden,” directed by Oliver Stone and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as N.S.A. whistleblower Edward Snowden, carries a $40 million price tag. “Snowden,” which premiered on Sept. 9 at the Toronto Film Festival, has generated mixed reviews with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 58%.
Pure Flix documentary “Hillsong: Let Hope Rise” is expected to take in about $2 million on its debut in 815 locations.