This summer, audiences didn’t always come running when Hollywood served up sequels and movies built on brands, and that trend continues into the fall. This weekend saw two franchises return to cinemas after years-long absences, but time didn’t make the heart grow any fonder as moviegoers instead kept the tale of an American hero at the top of the box office.
Clint Eastwood‘s “Sully” took the top spot for the second straight weekend, with the Tom Hanks-starring picture only seeing a 37% drop from week one, and hauling in $22 million. It puts the film on track to earn $130 million domestic, which will be Hanks’ best-performing movie in years. And it marks the second straight hit for Eastwood following the insanely successful “American Sniper.” And while “Sully” won’t even come near the uniquely phenomenal numbers for that picture, it’s very much in the awards conversation, particularly if it can leg out a long run in the cinemas. It’s certainly looking that way.
Coming in second place was “Blair Witch,” earning a tepid $9.6 million. Adam Wingard‘s attempt to go mainstream and tackle an iconic horror series backfired, with the film earning dreadful reviews, and audiences themselves roundly rejected the flick with an atrocious D+ Cinemascore. Try as they might to drum up excitement for the film, revealing at San Diego Comic Con that the movie, previously known as “The Woods,” was actually a “Blair Witch” movie, Lionsgate couldn’t make anybody care. Not only that, they’ve surely killed the series dead, with “Blair Witch” marking the worst opening of any film in the franchise.
After years in the works, it seems the crowd for “Bridget Jones’s Baby” has moved on. The third film in the series flopped with $8.2 million, even with a lot of positive reviews. While the two previous films in the series didn’t have huge opening weekends — both did $10 million in their debut — they eventually turned out decent numbers. Perhaps ‘Baby’ will do the same as “Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason” and finish with about $40 million domestic, but that picture also did over $220 million internationally, and I don’t see that happening here.
Meanwhile, whether or not Oliver Stone was too late ride the wave of the headlines, or audiences had simply tired of the topic, “Snowden” drummed up a wholly unremarkable $8 million. The film is Stone’s worst wide-release opening since 1997’s “U-Turn,” and it’s also the second straight fall flop for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who fizzled with last year’s “The Walk.” It’ll be interesting to see how both director and star pivot after this project, and what kind of material they’ll be able to make.
In limited release, there were plenty of pictures entering arthouses, but there were two high-profile efforts of note. Firstly, Ron Howard‘s documentary “The Beatles — Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years” earned $615,632 across 85 screens. Meanwhile, Eddie Murphy drama “Mr. Church” took home $407,151 on 354 screens.
1. “Sully” — $22 million ($70 mil.)
2. “Blair Witch” — $9.6 million
3. “Bridget Jones’s Baby” — $8.2 million
4. “Snowden” — $8 million
5. “Don’t Breathe” — $5.6 million ($75.3 mil.)
6. “When The Bough Breaks” — $5.5 million ($22.6 mil.)
7. “Suicide Squad” — $4.7 million ($313.7 mil.)
8. “The Wild Life” — $2.6 million ($6.6. mil.)
9. “Kubo And The Two Strings” — $2.5 million ($44.2)
10. “Pete’s Dragon” — $2 million ($72.8 mil.)