“Sully” is expected to win the weekend, the first of the fall season. Warner Bros.’ “Sully” has been forecast to reach at least $25 million at 3,525 locations ahead of Sony’s thriller “When the Bough Breaks” with around $15 million at 2,246 sites.
“Sully” is opening seven years after Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger successfully landed a damaged US Airways jet in the Hudson River after it hit a flock of geese shortly after takeoff from La Guardia Airport. Clint Eastwood directed from a script by Todd Komarnicki, based on the autobiography “Highest Duty” by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.
“Sully” premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on Sept. 2 and has received largely laudatory reviews with a current 81% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Autumn Reeser, Holt McCallany, Jamey Sheridan, and Jerry Ferrara are in supporting roles.
“Sully” has been pegged to launch in the same range as two titles — Hanks’ 2012 hostage drama “Captain Phillips,” which opened with $25.7 million on its way to a domestic total of $107 million; and Denzel Washington’s 2013 airline drama “Flight,” which launched with $24.9 million and grossed $93 million domestically.
“Captain Phillips” opened with $600,000 in Thursday night previews. Hanks’ most recent film, “Bridge of Spies,” debuted in mid-October with $600,000 on Thursday night in 2,387 locations on its way to a $15.4 million opening weekend at 2,811 sites and wound up with a $72 million domestic total.
“Sully” has a production budget of about $60 million, so it will need to show holdover strength in the following weekends to make it into profitable territory. Village Roadshow Pictures is a co-producer and co-financer with Warner Bros.
“When the Bough Breaks,” which has modest $10 million production budget, stars Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall portray a couple who desperately wants a baby. They hire a surrogate, played by Jaz Sinclair, who develops a psychotic fixation on the husband as the pregnancy progresses.
“When the Bough Breaks” is directed by Jon Cassar from a script by Jack Olsen. Former New Line toppers Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne are producing through their Unique Features production company.
Two other titles are opening this weekend amid modest expectations — Lionsgate’s animated comedy “The Wild Life,” based on “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe told from the point of view of the island’s animals; and Relativity’s horror film “The Disappointments Room,” starring Kate Beckinsale and Lucas Till.
“The Wild Life” is launching at 2,493 locations and expected to take in about $5 million. “The Disappointments Room” debuts at 1,554 sites with forecasts of a disappointing $2 million launch as the first Relativity title to hit the market since the mini-studio emerged from bankruptcy in April.
Sony’s third weekend of “Don’t Breathe,” which has led in the last two frames, will probably wind up in third place after taking in a surprisingly strong $58 million in its first 13 days.