Box-Office Preview: 'Sully' Buckles Up for Strong Takeoff as Fall Commences

Sully Still 2 - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Sully Still 2 - Publicity - H 2016

Screen Gems' surrogate thriller 'When the Bough Breaks' is also expected to scare up good business, and Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media releases its first movie since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Clint Eastwood's Sully — starring Tom Hanks as the real-life pilot who crash-landed a US Airways jet on the Hudson River — looks to dominate the skies this weekend in what Hollywood hopes is a heroic start to the fall box-office season.

The adult biographical drama, from Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow, is pacing to debut between $20 million and $25 million, a strong number for both Eastwood and Hanks, according to predictions. If it comes in on the higher end, it would match the opening of Hanks' 2013 fall drama Captain Phillips.

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.

Eastwood's movie is based on the autobiography Highest Duty by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.

Sully, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend, currently sports a 78 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The weekend's other new nationwide offering is Sony/Screen Gems thriller When the Bough Breaks, starring Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall as a childless couple who hire a surrogate, only to be caught up in a deadly game. Directed by Jon Cassar, the film co-stars Romany Malco, Michael K. Williams, Theo Rossi and Jaz Sinclair.

Sony insiders are projecting an opening in the $10 million-$12 million range, but When the Bough Breaks could debut in the high teen millions, according to projections. On the same weekend last year, Screen Gems' The Perfect Guy, also starring Chestnut, debuted to $25.9 million.

At the 11th hour, Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media has decided to open The Disappointments Room nationwide in some 1,500 theaters. 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.

The Disappointments Room is tracking to gross $2 million from an estimated 1,500 theaters, according to predictions.