Weekend Box Office: Sully Takes Flight

The Warner Brothers drama Sully flew high at the North America box office this weekend, kicking the fall movie season off in style. The Sony thriller When the Bough Breaks had an okay opening while The Wild Life and The Disappointments Room were DOA. Overall, the top ten was up 22% over last weekend’s totals but about even with figures from one year ago at this time.

With the fall movie season appearing even more crowded than usual, Warner opted to open Sully at a time where most people tend not to go to the movies: the weekend after Labor Day. The risky move that appeared to pay off big time for the Clint Eastwood-directed drama. Sully earned a solid $35.5 million from 3,525 theaters, of which 375 were IMAX venues.

The opening was the fifth biggest ever for the month of September and the third biggest live-action opening for the film’s lead, Tom Hanks. With an 82% approval rating from the nation’s critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an “A” CinemaScore rating from ticket buyers, Sully should have a long, healthy box office run ahead of it.

The romantic thriller When the Bough Breaks opened in 2,246 theaters where it made a decent $15 million, good enough for a second place finish. The $10 million production stars Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall and proved to be a bigger hit with audiences than with critics. The former gave the film a “B” CinemaScore rating while critics –who had to see it opening day due to no advance screenings- gave the film a big ol’ goose egg on Rotten Tomatoes.

Another Sony thriller that everyone seems to like, Don’t Breathe, eased 48% in its third round while scaring up an estimated $8.2 million from 3,384 theaters. To date, the Fede Alvarez chiller has brought in $66.8 million and could be working its way to a final haul between $80-85 million. Foreign totals currently stand at $20.3 million.

Warner’s Suicide Squad still had a little fight left in it as it entered its sixth week of release with $5.65 million from 3,103 theaters. Down 43% from last weekend’s holiday frame, the antihero hit has bagged $307.4 million in domestic sales. The movie will cross the $700 million mark on Monday thanks to an additional $392 million brought in from overseas.

Rounding out the top five was the Lionsgate animated feature The Wild Life. Not to be confused with the dreadful 1984 comedy co-written by Cameron Crowe, this Wild Life is a computer animated pirate film. Critics made the family film walk the plank -15% approval on Rotten Tomatoes- while its target demo found better things to do with their free time. Making a quick pit stop en route to home video, The Wild Life set sail Friday in 2,493 theaters where it quickly sunk with a dreadful $3.4 million in ticket sales.

It certainly could have been worse for The Wild Life. It could have suffered the same fate as Relativity’s The Disappointments Room. The DJ Caruso-directed thriller starring Kate Beckinsale finally saw the light of day this weekend after sitting on the shelf for well over a year due to the bankruptcy of Relativity Pictures. Given this weekend’s disastrous 17th place debut of $1.4 million from 1,554 theaters, perhaps it should have stayed there.

Outside the top five:
6.  Kubo and the Two Strings $3.23 million (-49%); $41 million

7. Pete’s Dragon (2016) $2.9 million (-53%); $70 million

8. Bad Moms (STX) $2.83 million (-41%); $107 million

9. Hell or High Water (Lionsgate) $2.6 million (-41%); $20 million

10. Sausage Party (Sony) $2.3 million (-56%); $93 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Blair Witch, Bridget Jones’s Baby and the Oliver Stone drama Snowden.

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