Weekend Box Office: ‘Sully’ Soars Past ‘Blair Witch’ and ‘Bridget Jones’

     September 18, 2016


Unless you’re Clint Eastwood, it’s a bit of a bummer weekend at the box office. While Eastwood’s biopic Sully continued to fly high with audiences, all three new releases — SnowdenBlair Witch, and Bridget Jones’s Baby — failed to earn audience attention stateside and fell behind predictions, resulting in a trio of box-office bombs.

Eastwood’s dramatization of the “Miracle on the Hudson” emergency plane landing easily overtook the competition to land the top spot for the second week in a row, dropping only 37% for an estimated weekend total of $22 Million. That brings the domestic cume for the Tom Hanks-led biographical drama to $70.5 M, and with five new international markets, Sully’s worldwide gross comes to just under $94 M.


Image via Lionsgate

Taking second place, and falling significantly short of early estimates, is Lionsgate’s secret sequel Blair Witch, which earned a modest $9.65 M in its first weekend. It’s a disappointing haul for the buzzy follow-up to the 1999 found-footage horror classic, but it doesn’t exactly spell financial disaster for the Adam Wingard-directed sequel thanks to an economical budget of $5 M. However, it is an interesting demonstration that a clever marketing campaign isn’t enough to win over an audience. Produced and ambiguously marketed under the fake name The Woods, Blair Witch revealed its true title to unsuspecting audiences at Comic-Con, sparking a passionate response in the horror community. However, while early reviews were glowing, critics have been divided on Blair Witch and it hasn’t fared well with audiences, receiving a surprising D+ CinemaScore.

The week’s next disappointing sequel, Bridget Jones’s Baby, landed in the third spot with an estimated $8.2 M, falling short of mid-teens expectations. It marks the worst domestic opening for the franchise, despite strong critical reception and a B+ CinemaScore, which sees Renee Zelwegger returning to beloved character for the first time in 15 years alongside her Darcy, Colin Firth, and franchise newcomer Patrick Dempsey.


Image via Universal Pictures

But there’s good news for the British-made romantic comedy. Bridget Jones has a history as a major international performer, and the sequel is keeping that tradition alive with an estimated $29.9 M box office debut in international markets where it finished No. 1 in 24 of the 39 overseas markets where it opened. Bridget Jones had a particularly strong showing in the U.K. and Ireland, where it broke records with an $11.3 M haul, making it the biggest debut for a romantic comedy ever in the U.K.. Thanks to those international numbers and a moderate budget, Bridget Jones should end up in the black. Universal, Miramax, StudioCanal and Working Title backed the sequel, which cost $35 million to produce.

The weekend’s final wide-release debut, Oliver Stone‘s Snowden, landed in the No. 4 spot with an estimated $8 M stateside, falling a bit shy of the expected $10 M. It marks the lowest-grossing debut in Stone’s career. However, the biopic starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the NSA whistle-blower earned a solid A CinemaScore, suggesting the drama could have legs at the Box Office thanks to good word of mouth, and US distributor Open Road is positioning it as an awards contender.
Rounding out the Top 5 is the bonafide horror hit Don’t Breathe (which likely contributed some to Blair Witch’s poor showing) in the fifth spot with an estimated $5.6 M. Elsewhere, Suicide Squad earned another $4.7 M in its seventh weekend, bring its domestic haul to $313.7 M. It also earned another $5.8 internationally, bringing the worldwide cume to $718.8 M.


Image via Open Road Films


Image via Screen Gems

Check out the weekend’s Top 10 below:

Title Weekend Total
1. Sully $22.0 $70,541,351
2. Blair Witch $9.65 $9,650,000
3. Bridget Jones’s Baby $8.24 $8,240,715
4. Snowden $8.0 $8,023,329
5. Don’t Breathe $5.6 $75,328,781
6. When the Bough Breaks $5.2 $22,697,732
7. Suicide Squad $4.7 $313,782,332
8. The Wild Life $2.6 $6,664,269
9. Kubo and the Two Strings $2.5 $44,240,974
10. Pete’s Dragon $2.0 $72,805,525

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