September 16, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Sully” Flies Over “Blair Witch,” “Bridget Jones,” “Snowden”


It was Bombs Away! for the weekend’s new openings, and even though SULLY (Village Roadshow/RatPac/Warners) will easily win the stanza, it’s not performing thrillingly either.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, its second Friday was $6.3M, down 48% from last week’s opening day.  By comparison, the 2d Friday for Bridge of Spies was down 38%, Captain Phillips dipped 40%, and Argo dropped just 14%.  Sully should have a $21M weekend, suggesting a fine but not overwhelming $140M US total.  Last weekend indicated that overseas business may be soft, and we’ll if that continues when the film widens release this week.

The arrivals were various shades of disastrous.  BLAIR WITCH (Lionsgate) managed just $3.8M on Friday, and may not get much past $8M for the weekend.  Even with low-end production and marketing costs, this probably won’t break even, and will certainly end the franchise.

BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (Universal) proved to be another misguided attempt to resuscitate an aged franchise.  Friday was at $3M, with perhaps $8M for the weekend.  (More if older women show up on Saturday.)  Baby cost much more than Blair Witch, as much as $100M with worldwide marketing included, but it has one factor potentially going for it:  overseas strength, especially in the UK.  Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason made 85% of its global gross outside the US in 2004, and the UK alone was nearly 75% higher than its US total.  If Baby can perform likewise, it may hit profit, although it’ll have to grind its way to get there.

Oliver Stone’s SNOWDEN (Open Road) hoped that topicality would work for it, but that didn’t happen.  It earned just $2.6M on Friday, and will be at $7-8M for the weekend, which would make it Stone’s worst wide opening since U-Turn in 1997 (which opened at half as many theaters as Snowden).  It’s also another blow to the starring hopes of Joseph Gorden-Levitt, coming off last year’s failures The Walk and The Night Before.

DON’T BREATHE (Screen Gems/Sony) continues to hold well, down 43% on its 4th Friday to $1.4M, with a $5M weekend ahead and a possible $85M US total.  But stablemate WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS (Screen Gems/Sony) collapsed, down 72% from last Friday to $1.5M, and heading for a $4.5M weekend and a $30M US total.

SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) keeps chugging away, down just 28% on its 7th Friday to $1M, for a $3.5-4M weekend that would put its running total at $313M.  It probably won’t catch Batman v Superman‘s $326.2M, although it continues (for now) to run slightly ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy, the current highest-grossing August opener.  (Guardians is likely to pull ahead by early October.)

HELL OR HIGH WATER (CBS/Lionsgate) has a shot of reaching $30M in the US.  It’s on its way to a $1.7M weekend after $500K on Friday.

Two quasi-wide releases went nowhere.  The Christian music documentary HILLSONG (Pure Film) won’t average much more than $2000 per theatre at 816, and the Eddie Murphy drama MR. CHURCH (Freeform) may not average $1000 at 354.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."