Warner Bros.’ biopic Sully soared above the clouds for an estimated $35.50 million opening weekend to take first place. The drama directed by Clint Eastwood starred Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the real-life plane captain who saved more than 150 lives with his controlled crash landing in New York City’s Hudson River in 2009. Impressively, the film took a commanding lead despite 80 percent of the audience being over 35 years old, usually a demographic that doesn’t turn out so heavily for an opening weekend.
The film was helped by its strong reviews, receiving an A CinemaScore, and its estimated $4.0 million from IMAX theaters, unusually high for a drama instead of the special effects-laden films that usually perform better in IMAX. (It was also the first film ever to be shot 100 percent with IMAX cameras.)
Compared to other recent Tom Hanks films, Sully starts with more than double the $15.37 million opening for last year’s Bridge of Spies and 38.0 percent higher than the $25.71 million start of 2013’s Captain Phillips. Compared to other recent movies about a plane flight gone wrong, Sully starts 22.9 percent ahead of the $28.87 million opening of 2014’s Non-Stop and 42.5 percent above the $24.90 million start of 2012’s Flight. No matter how you slice it, Sully had an excellent opening.
Sully started with an estimated $12.20 million on Friday (including $1.35 million from Thursday night previews), increased 20.2 percent on Saturday to $14.675 million, and decreased 41.1 percent on Sunday to $8.63 million. That gives it an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.91 to 1, which is fairly backloaded for a film to debut atop the box office and indicates positive potential for its continued grosses over the next few weeks.
Sony’s When the Bough Breaks took second place with an estimated $15.0 million opening weekend. The psychological thriller stars Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall as a married couple who find themselves in danger from the surrogate mother for their baby. The film starts 42.0 percent below the $25.88 million opening for last year’s The Perfect Guy, another September drama/thriller starring Morris Chestnut. But with Bough being produced on a low budget of only approximately $10 million, this should still be considered a success.
When the Bough Breaks started with an estimated $5.28 million on Friday, increased 16.1 percent on Saturday to $6.135 million, and dropped 41.6 percent on Sunday to $3.58 million. This places its opening weekend to Friday ratio at an estimated 2.84 to 1 — more back-loaded than The Perfect Guy‘s 2.61 to 1.
Sony also took third place with their horror film Don’t Breathe, which falls to third place after two weekends atop the leaderboard. The movie dropped 48.1 percent to gross $8.21 million, for a total of $66.83 million through three weekends. That’s running 22.1 percent ahead of this summer’s breakout horror Lights Out, which had earned $54.71 million through the same point.
Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad took fourth place, declining 43.0 percent to an estimated $5.65 million. That gives it a $307.40 million total through six weekends, which is 4.2 percent ahead of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy through the same point with $294.76 million, but 9.8 percent behind Deadpool with $340.95 million and 5.4 percent behind Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with $325.19 million.
Lionsgate’s animated The Wild Life, which told the story of castaway Robinson Crusoe from the perspective of the other animals on the island, was a shipwreck at the box office with an estimated $3.40 million opening at the box office at fifth place. To put that into perspective, the film played 2,943 theaters — if it had played in at least seven more theaters, adjusted for inflation The Wild Life would have had the fourth-worst opening weekend of all time for a release playing on 2,500+ screens.
Even compared to other financially middling wide animated releases in the past year, The Wild Life stands out in a bad way. It starts 30.1 percent behind the $4.86 million opening of April’s Ratchet & Clank and 50.3 percent behind the $6.84 million opening of January’s Norm of the North.
The Wild Life started with an estimated $736 thousand on Friday, surprised by more than doubling its daily gross on Saturday with $1.59 million, and declined 33.2 percent on Sunday to $1.06 million. That places its opening weekend to Friday ratio at an estimated 4.61 to 1, which is virtually unheard of for a wide release. Normally that would be considered an impressive figure indicating positive word of mouth as the weekend progressed, but given how low the numbers are here, it’s probably more of a statistical anomaly.
The top 10 films this weekend made an estimated cumulative $81.66 million, which is 22.0 percent above the $66.88 million total for last weekend and virtually identical (at less than 1 percent higher) relative to the $81.62 million for this same weekend last year.
Paramount’s Star Trek Beyond led the overseas box office with an estimated $16.6 million weekend, down 55.1 percent, in 40 markets. The steep fall comes after a massive opening in China last weekend. It’s now earned $161.5 million overseas and $318.0 million globally.
Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets wasn’t far behind with $15.1 million overseas, down 12.7 percent, in 56 markets. It’s now earned $427.2 million overseas and $789.0 million globally.
Suicide Squad came in with $10.1 million overseas, down 14.4 percent, in 64 markets. It’s earned $392.0 million overseas and $699.4 million globally.
The Shallows, though basically done with its theatrical run in the U.S., earned $9.6 million overseas in 56 markets, thanks to a second-place debut in China with $8.1 million. It’s now earned $55.1 million overseas and $110.0 million globally.
Studio Weekend Estimates for Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11, 2016:
|2||When the Bough Breaks||$14,995,000||—||2,246||—||$6,676||$14,995,000||1||Sony / Screen Gems|
|3||Don’t Breathe||$8,210,000||-48%||3,384||333||$2,426||$66,833,158||3||Sony / TriStar|
|4||Suicide Squad||$5,650,000||-43%||3,103||-189||$1,821||$307,407,853||6||Warner Bros.|
|5||The Wild Life (2016)||$3,400,000||—||2,493||—||$1,364||$3,400,000||1||Lionsgate / Summit|
|6||Kubo and the Two Strings||$3,230,000||-49%||2,335||-650||$1,383||$40,847,680||4||Focus|
|7||Pete’s Dragon (2016)||$2,938,000||-54%||2,685||-587||$1,094||$69,986,653||5||Disney|
|8||Bad Moms||$2,830,000||-41%||1,888||-418||$1,499||$107,526,266||7||STX Entertainment|
|9||Hell or High Water||$2,600,000||-41%||1,445||142||$1,799||$19,823,734||5||CBS Films / Lionsgate|
|10||Sausage Party||$2,295,000||-56%||2,071||-695||$1,108||$93,177,579||5||Sony / Columbia|
|11||War Dogs||$2,030,000||-58%||1,781||-1067||$1,140||$39,804,718||4||Warner Bros.|
|12||The Light Between Oceans||$1,826,000||-62%||1,500||0||$1,217||$9,437,026||2||Disney / DreamWorks|
|14||Mechanic: Resurrection||$1,750,000||-61%||1,901||-357||$921||$18,696,261||3||Lionsgate / Summit|
|15||The Secret Life of Pets||$1,540,000||-56%||1,410||-659||$1,092||$361,837,775||10||Universal|
|16||The Disappointments Room||$1,400,000||—||1,554||—||$901||$1,400,000||1||Relativity Studios|
|17||Florence Foster Jenkins||$845,000||-60%||1,062||-279||$796||$25,714,803||5||Paramount|
|18||Morgan||$495,000||-75%||2,020||0||$245||$3,588,471||2||20th Century Fox|
|19||Hands of Stone||$170,000||-87%||1,103||-908||$154||$4,548,259||3||The Weinstein Company|
|1||No Manches Frida||$2,150,000||-42%||465||103||$4,624||$7,368,782||2||Lionsgate / Pantelion|
|2||Star Trek Beyond||$935,000||-62%||748||-454||$1,250||$156,580,627||8||Paramount|
|5||Southside with You||$327,850||-75%||444||-453||$738||$6,015,124||3||Roadside / Miramax|
|6||Don’t Think Twice||$319,310||-30%||175||10||$1,825||$3,524,753||8||The Film Arcade|
|7||Ice Age: Collision Course||$280,000||-59%||309||-383||$906||$63,178,040||8||Fox|
|8||The BFG||$166,000||-46%||211||-9||$787||$55,064,675||11||Disney / DreamWorks|
|9||Cafe Society||$151,000||-46%||142||-48||$1,063||$10,754,671||9||Lionsgate / Amazon|
|11||Equity||$90,101||—||194||—||$464||$1,465,131||7||Sony Pictures Classics|
|12||Hillary’s America – The Secret History of the Democratic Party||$62,000||-76%||169||-235||$367||$13,020,362||9||D’Souza EntertainmentQuality Flix|
|1||Hunt for the Wilderpeople||$96,825||-32%||86||1||$1,126||$4,773,576||12||The Orchard|
|2||The Hollars||$71,362||—||32||—||$2,230||$270,615||3||Sony Pictures Classics|
|3||A Tale of Love and Darkness||$62,000||-51%||64||-2||$969||$479,459||4||Focus World|
|4||Indignation||$61,900||-59%||59||-57||$1,049||$3,218,519||7||Roadside / Summit|
|5||The Jungle Book (2016)||$47,000||-59%||87||-22||$540||$363,928,757||22||Disney|
|6||The People vs. Fritz Bauer||$40,239||—||22||—||$1,829||$188,700||4||Cohen Media Group|
|7||A Complete Unknown||$38,160||-10%||53||31||$720||$124,480||3||IFC Films / Amazon|
|8||Other People||$38,000||—||12||—||$3,167||$38,000||1||Vertical Entertainment|
|11||Captain America: Civil War||$24,000||-81%||54||-27||$444||$408,059,143||19||Disney|
|12||Howards End (2016 re-release)||$21,480||—||9||—||$2,387||$136,222||3||Cohen Media Group|
|13||Naam Hai Akira||$16,500||-88%||51||-20||$324||$212,961||2||FIP|
|15||Demon||$13,560||—||3||—||$4,520||$13,560||1||The OrchardThe Orchard|
|17||Come What May||$10,656||—||2||—||$5,328||$10,656||1||Cohen Media Group|
|18||Dancer||$7,000||—||1||—||$7,000||$7,000||1||IFC Films / Sundance Selects|
|19||Life, Animated||$6,328||550%||11||5||$575||$234,761||11||The Orchard|
|20||The Music of Strangers||$3,665||-39%||10||-3||$367||$1,148,883||14|