Directed by Clint Eastwood, "Sully" handily outperformed
recent expectations, which had been in the $25 million range.
The action-adventure, which recreates 2009's "Miracle on the
Hudson" emergency landing, generated an A CinemaScore in a
strong signal that "Sully" should continue to draw well in
Sony-Screen Gems drama "When the Bough Breaks" opened
respectably in second with $15 million at 2,246 sites.
Lionsgate's launch of European animated comedy "The Wild Life"
generated only modest interest in fifth place with $3.4 million
at 2,493 locations while Relativity's horror film "The
Disappointments Room" was nearly invisible with $1.4 million at
1,554 screens for a dismal $901 per-screen average.
"Sully" stars Hanks as Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the career
pilot who successfully landed a damaged U.S. Airways jet in the
Hudson River after it hit a flock of geese following takeoff
from LaGuardia Airport. Eastwood directed from a script by Todd
Komarnicki, based on the autobiography "Highest Duty" by
Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.
"Sully" generated the top gross for a post-Labor Day weekend and
the fifth-best September opening ever after "Hotel Transylvania
2," "Hotel Transylvania," "Insidious: Chapter 2" and "Sweet Home
Alabama." The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on
Sept. 2 and has received largely laudatory reviews with a
current 84 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Audiences were 80 percent over 35 and 56 percent female. Warner
distribution exec Jeffrey Goldstein said strong support among
older moviegoers means "Sully" will hold well in the coming
"Older audiences tend to support movies like this more over the
long haul," he added.
Goldstein noted that two recent Hanks movies have generated
strong holds -- 2012 hostage drama "Captain Phillips," which
opened with $25.7 million on its way to a domestic total of $107
million; and Hanks' most recent film, "Bridge of Spies," which
debuted in mid-October with a $15.4 million opening weekend at
2,811 sites and also had a strong hold as it wound up with a $72
million domestic total.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, noted
that PostTrak audience survey stats showed that 82 percent of
the audience for "Sully" was over 25 years of age with 39
percent listing Hanks as the reason for attending the movie and
another 20 percent giving Eastwood being the director.
"Both statistics are uncommonly strong," Dergarabedian said.
"It's a perfect kick off movie for the Fall movie season of
2016. 'Sully' brings one of the world's most beloved stars and
one of its great directors together in a true life drama that
delivers the kind of gravitas and depth that defines the
so-called 'Oscar season' that usually takes some time to ramp
up, but this year gets right to work."
"Sully" generated $4 million from 375 Imax locations for a
$10,666 average in what's touted as the first Hollywood film
ever shot entirely on Imax cameras. Eastwood had announced in
April that he was shooting the film using the digital Imax Alexa
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Aaron Eckhart stars as First Officer Jeffrey Skiles and Laura Linney
plays Sullenberger's spouse Lorraine.
"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.
"Sully" took in $9.5 million at 3,600 screens in 39 international
markets, led by $2.3 million in Australia. It generated the top
opening for an Eastwood film in Russia with $925,000 on 882 screens.
"When the Bough Breaks," which has modest $10 million production
budget, stars Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall as 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
"When the Bough Breaks" generated a B CinemaScore with an audience
that was 62 percent female and 61 percent over 25 with Sony
distribution president Rory Bruer asserting that those numbers
indicate holding power in the coming weeks.
Sony's third weekend of horror-thriller "Don't Breathe" finished
third with $8.2 million at 3,384 locations to bring its 17-day total
to $66.8 million. Bruer noted that the 48 percent decline
represented an excellent hold for the genre.
Warner's sixth weekend of "Suicide Squad" followed in fourth with
$5.7 million at 3,103 sites for a domestic total of $307.4 million.
"The Wild Life," which tells the Robinson Crusoe story from the
point of view of the island animals, opened somewhat under
expectations at $3.4 million.
Focus' fourth weekend of "Kubo and the Two Strings" led the rest of
the pack in sixth with $3.2 million, followed by Disney's fifth
weekend of "Pete's Dragon" with $2.9 million, STX's seventh frame of
"Bad Moms" with $2.8 million, Lionsgate's fifth weekend of "Hell or
High Water" with $2.6 million and Sony's fifth session of "Sausage
Party" with $2.3 million.
Lionsgate's second weekend of Spanish-language comedy "No Manches
Frida" continued to perform well in 11th with $2.2 million at 465
"The Disappointments Room," starring Kate Beckinsale and Lucas Till,
finished in 17th as the first Relativity title to hit the market
since the mini-studio emerged from bankruptcy in April. The film,
which carries a $16 million price tag and was shot in 2014 by D.J.
Caruso, centers on a hidden room in the attic at a rural home.
Relativity has indicated that most of its efforts on "The
Disappointments Room" are aimed at the home video and VOD market.
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