Weekend Box Office: 'Sully' Earns Heroic $12.2M Friday for Projected $35M Debut

The biographical drama marks one of director Clint Eastwood's top openings, as well as a recent best for Tom Hanks; elsewhere, 'The Disappointments Room' is living up to its name after earning a rare D CinemaScore.

Clint Eastwood's Sully is soaring mid-flight at the North American box office, opening to $12.2 million Friday from 3,525 theaters for a $35 million weekend, according to projections.

Sully — which earned an A CinemaScore from audiences — heralds a strong start to the fall season and is a win for all involved, including Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures, which partnered on the adult-driven fall film, starring Tom Hanks as the real-life pilot who crash-landed a US Airways jet on the Hudson River.

The biographical drama looks to mark one of the best nationwide starts for Eastwood, save for American Sniper which debuted to a stunning $107.2 million over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend in 2014, including $89.3 million for the three days. In January 2008, Eastwood's box-office hit Gran Torino grossed $29.5 million when expanding nationwide.

And Sully's opening looks to be Hanks' biggest since Sony's 2009 franchise installment Angels and Demons ($46.2 million). Similar to films directed by Eastwood, Hanks' dramas don't generally sport huge openings but can have strong legs. In Oct. 2015, Bridge of Spies, helmed by Steven Spielberg and starring Hanks, opened to $15.4 million on its way to becoming a solid performer. In fall 2015, Hanks' Captain Phillips opened to $25.7 million.

Sully recounts the tale of US Airways Flight 1549, otherwise known as the "Miracle on the Hudson." The plane, piloted by Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Hanks) and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), was met with disaster minutes after taking off from New York City's LaGuardia Airport on Jan. 15, 2009, when a flock of Canadian geese disabled both engines. With no other option, Sully was forced to make a water landing on the Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew survived, with Sully becoming an instant hero.

Sully, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend, currently sports an 81 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Among the weekend's other new offerings, Sony/Screen Gems thriller When the Bough Breaks, starring Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall as a childless couple who hire a surrogate, grossed an estimated $5.3 million from 2,246 theaters Friday for a solid $14.6 million weekend and second-place finish.

Heading into the frame, Sony insiders predicted a $10 million-$12 million weekend, but box-office analysts thought When the Bough Breaks could approach $20 million.On the same weekend last year, Screen Gems' The Perfect Guy, also starring Chestnut, debuted to $25.9 million.

Lionsgate is opening Belgian-French animated The Wild Life in 2,492 theaters. The film is pacing to earn a forgettable $2.8 million for the weekend (Lionsgate's exposure on the movie is limited, since it's a distribution deal.) Wild Life, coming in No. 8, earned a B- CInemaScore

Also debuting, albeit in fewer theaters, or roughly 1,554 locations, is Relativity Media's The Disappointments Room, which is faring dismally for a possible $1.3 million weekend after earning a D CinemaScore from audiences (D and F CinemaScores are rare). The horror film, directed by D.J. Caruso and starring Kate Beckinsale and Lucas Till, is the first title Relativity has released since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Sept. 9, 12 p.m. Updated with revised weekend predictions.

Sept. 10, 7:30 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers and revised weekend predictions.

 

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