'Sully' Repeats at #1 While 'Blair Witch', 'Bridget Jones' & 'Snowden' Fall Short
by Brad Brevet
September 18, 2016
As expected, Clint Eastwood's Sully enjoyed a second straight weekend atop the box office and it wasn't much of a competition. Not one of the weekend's three new widest releases managed to even top ten million as Blair Witch and Bridget Jones's Baby fell well short of expectations and Open Road's Snowden pretty much delivered as expected depending on whom you asked. Overall, the weekend's top twelve was down 11.6% compared to last week and down 24.3% compared to last year with the top twelve generating an estimated $74.6 million, just $136k shy of the worst weekend of the year so far.
With an estimated $22 million, Sully dropped only 37% in its second weekend as the film's domestic cume now stands at $70.5 million, just $1.8 million shy of the entire run of Tom Hanks' Bridge of Spies, which went on to earn six Oscar nominations last year including a win for Supporting Actor. The film also expanded its international footprint, adding five markets grossing an estimated $7 million outside the United States bringing its international cume to $23.4 million for a worldwide cume just shy of $94 million.
Taking second place, with less than half of Mojo's forecasted weekend, is Lionsgate's Blair Witch with an estimated $9.65 million. Heading into the weekend, industry expectations pegged it for an opening in the mid to high teens while Mojo and many others expected an opening at, or north of, $20 million. Fortunately the production budget was a mere $5 million, but this was certainly expected to perform much better than it did.
Marketing certainly wasn't the issue as the studio roused excitement at Comic Con this year where the film was screened for audiences that only knew the film as The Woods, only to learn they were sitting down for a new installment in the Blair Witch franchise, which began with the industry-changing original 17 years ago. However, heading into the weekend reviews weren't glowing as the RottenTomatoes score has since dipped to 37% and opening day audiences gave the film a dismal "D+" CinemaScore, which doesn't bode well for its future prospects. The audience breakdown was 56% male vs. 44% female with 61% of the opening weekend audience coming in over the age of 25.
Internationally, Blair Witch opened in 27 markets and brought in an estimated $4.9 million for a $14.5 million global opening. The UK and Brazil led the way with $1.5 million and $1.2 million debuts respectively. The next major territories where the film will be released include France, Italy and Belgium on Thursday, September 21.
Pulling in third, and also delivering a disappointing domestic opening, is Universal's Bridget Jones's Baby with an estimated $8.2 million. Heading into the weekend the expectation was for this one to deliver the largest opening of the franchise, somewhere in the low to mid-teens. Instead it finished with the worst opening of the franchise despite opening in 1,316 more theaters than the 2001 original, which opened with $10.7 million, and nearly 2,400 more theaters than 2004's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, which opened with $8.6 million.
From a quality perspective, following the much-loved original, Edge of Reason was dismissed by critics and audiences alike, yet reviews for Bridget Jones's Baby were strong heading into the weekend, scoring a "Certified Fresh" rating at RottenTomatoes followed by a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. Perhaps the film will be able to eke out some decent holds in the future, despite the lackluster domestic start. Opening day demographics saw a breakdown of 79% female vs. 21% male with 72% of the audience coming in over the age of 35.
Fortunately, Bridget Jones isn't just a domestic play. The 2001 original grossed over $210 million internationally while the sequel generated over $222 million outside the United States. Bridget Jones's Baby is hoping to keep that traditional alive as the film finished #1 in 24 of the 39 international markets it opened in this weekend with an estimated $29.9 million. This includes a #1 opening in the UK and Ireland with $11.3 million, the largest opening for a romantic comedy ever in the UK and the biggest September opening weekend ever in the market. It also opened #1 in Australia with $4.2m, the Netherlands with $1.9m, Spain with $1.7m and a #2 finish in Russia with $1.4m. Next weekend the film opens in Egypt, Iceland, India, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, Thailand and Trinidad.
Finishing in fourth position just behind Bridge Jones is Open Road's Snowden with an estimated $8 million. The film was expected to have a tough time topping $10 million and it met those expectations. The film did, however, have an impact on opening day audiences, receiving an "A" CinemaScore, the best score among the weekend's three widest new releases.
Rounding out the top five, and likely a contributing factor to Blair Witch's opening weekend struggles, is the continued strong performance of Don't Breathe, which dropped only 32% in its fourth weekend for an estimated $5.6 million. The film's domestic cume now stands at $75.3 million and has now topped $107 million worldwide on a budget under $10 million.
Elsewhere in the top ten, Suicide Squad dropped only 17.7% in its seventh weekend, hauling in an estimated $4.7 million as its domestic cume now climbs to $313.7 million. It also grossed an additional $5.8 million internationally this weekend where its cume has now climbed to $405.1 million for a worldwide total of $718.8 million.
Finishing outside the top twelve was Pure Flix's Hillsong: Let Hope Rise with an estimated $1.3 million from 816 theaters. It was thought, heading into the weekend, this one could find its way into the top ten with an opening around $2.5 million and while the target audience clearly took to the film, awarding it an "A" CinemaScore, it just didn't expand far enough outside its target demographic.
In limited release, Ron Howard's documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years brought in an estimated $615,632 from 84 theaters this weekend while Freestyle's release of Mr. Church, Eddie Murphy's first film in four years, could only manage an estimated $407,151 from 354 theaters ($1,150 PTA).
Additional limited releases find China Lion's Cock and Bull bringing in an estimated $35,000 from 12 theaters ($2,917 PTA); A23's Is That a Gun in Your Pocket? brought in an estimated $9,600 from two theaters ($4,800 PTA); The Orchard's Miss Stevens brought in an estimated $3,005 from two theaters ($1,503 PTA); FilmRise's Silicon Cowboys debuted with $5,250 from 12 theaters ($438 PTA); and Weinstein and Dimension's Wild Oats slinked to an estimated $18,700 from 100 theaters for a measly $187 per theater average.
One last weekend highlight finds Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures' The Secret Life of Pets crossing $800 million at the worldwide box office today. The film has grossed an estimated $363.4 million domestically and $441.6 million internationally. With an estimated $805 million, it is currently the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2016 at the worldwide box office.
Next weekend sees the release of Sony's ensemble Western The Magnificent Seven into ~3,600 theaters and Warner Bros' animated feature Storks into 3,800+ theaters.
For a look at this weekend's estimated results click here and we'll be updating the charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo and author Brad Brevet at @bradbrevet.