Weekend Forecast: ‘Sully,’ ‘When the Bough Breaks’ & ‘The Wild Life’

This weekend three new wide releases will grace the box office in an attempt to prevent the surprise late summer hit Don’t Breathe from three-peating. The favorite to win the weekend will be Sully from Warner Bros. and acclaimed director Clint Eastwood, a biopic based on the events surrounding the US Airways Flight 1549’s emergency landing into the Hudson River in New York. In an attempt to capitalize on the seemingly bullish demand for thrillers in 2016, Sony / Screen Gems will debut their psychological thriller When The Bough Breaks. Lastly, Lionsgate/Summit will open the French/Belgian imported animated film The Wild Life which revisits the story of Robinson Crusoe but from the perspective of the animals on the island.



  • Tom Hanks stars as the titular Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who achieved fame in January 2009 after piloting an aircraft that made an emergency landing in the Hudson River with no casualties. The story made Sullenberger a household name in North America and an instant hero.
  • With Tom Hanks in the lead and Clint Eastwood directing, Oscar buzz is already circling and with its early reviews being strong at this point it’s a strong contender for Best Picture and Actor nominations at most of the major award races. Hanks is a living legend who has received five Best Actor Oscar nominations (winning two back to back) but surprisingly none since 2000’s Castaway. Eastwood on the other hand has four Oscars to his name, two each from Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, and has been nominated five times for Best Picture and four times for Best Director.
  • Coming out of blockbuster season the film is well positioned to appeal to older audiences looking for something more realistic and nuanced. Eastwood’s last film of a much more contentious American hero American Sniper went onto gross $350 million. While that might be pie in the sky for Sully, it gives an indication of the type of demand Eastwood can conjure given the right material.
  • With this Sunday being the 15th anniversary of the tragedy that was 9/11 it seems strangely fitting for a modern American aviation hero to take center stage at the box office.


  • Well-made films about the lives of famous people don’t always do well at the box office. Last year’s Steve Jobs was testament to that as it grossed just $18 million despite securing two acting nominations at the Oscars and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 86%.

When The Bough Breaks


  • The thriller is about a surrogate mother who develops a psychotic obsession with the man whose baby she’s carrying. Some similar films of “dangerous love” such as Fatal Attraction have previously been hits at the box office.
  • The largely African-American cast starring Morris Chestnut was a similar formula to Chestnut’s surprise hit The Perfect Guy last year, which did better than almost anybody expected with a $25.8 million opening weekend and $57.0 million cumulative gross. That was also a September release.
  • Further to the above point, Idris Elba’s No Good Deed in 2014 fell into the same genre as both The Perfect Guy and When the Bough Breaks and opened to $24 million.
  • The film has secured 180,118 likes on Facebook to date which is eerily similar to the 179,786 likes that The Perfect Guy had at the same distance before release.


  • The film is not a remake of the 1994 movie of the same name, which might cause confusion among fans of the original.
  • Don’t Breathe has done very well in the same genre over the past couple weeks and continues to impress which could detract from its potential audience. It’s a sticky situation for Screen Gems who distribute both films and will no doubt be kicking themselves for not anticipating just how well Don’t Breathe would have done, because they will absolutely be cannibalizing some of their potential sales this upcoming weekend with the two films’ overlap in demographics.

The Wild Life


  • The animated film tells the legendary story of island castaway Robinson Crusoe from the perspective of the other animals on the island. The clever premise could appeal to children with the talking animals and also adults who may be more familiar with the original Crusoe story.


  • Social media buzz has been largely absent for the release. Though that is hardly surprising given its core demographic of younger children it also means that few others outside of said demographic are interested here.
  • The film was produced by French/Belgian filmmakers and was released worldwide in 37 countries where it has tallied a mediocre $21 million. Major worldwide locations such as the United Kingdom ($1.4 million total) had icy receptions and with a 42% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes there is not much hope for much different here in North America.

Top 10 Forecast

BoxOffice Pro forecasts this weekend’s top ten films will generate $84 million. That would mark a 3% increase from last year’s $81 million when The Perfect Guy and The Visit both surprised with over $25 million openings.

Check out our complete weekend forecast below.

Title Distributor Weekend Domestic Total through
Sunday, September 11
Sully Warner Bros. $30,000,000 $30,000,000
When the Bough Breaks Sony / Screen Gems $17,000,000 $17,000,000
Don’t Breathe Sony / Screen Gems $9,500,000 $68,340,000
The Wild Life Lionsgate / Summit $5,000,000 $5,000,000
Suicide Squad Warner Bros. $4,960,000 $306,780,000
Kubo and the Two Strings Focus Features $4,140,000 $41,900,000
Pete’s Dragon (2016) Buena Vista $4,130,000 $71,290,000
Bad Moms STX Entertainment $3,340,000 $107,920,000
Hell or High Water Lionsgate $3,330,000 $20,540,000
War Dogs Warner Bros. $2,650,000 $40,480,000

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