Sully doesn't look to be in any kind of distress, Blair Witch looks to have bored audiences a bit, and Bridget Jones delivers her worst opening weekend yet.

Yes, that's right, Clint Eastwood’s Sully flew to the top of the box office for a second weekend in a row with an impressive $21.6 million, while the three widest release new comers of the weekend appear to have kinda taken a nose dive with movie goers. Sully only dropped 38% in ticket sales from opening weekend and now has surpassed its budget of $60 million as well. The success of its second weekend can largely be credited to the weaker competition facing off against it – Sully was easily the strongest mainstream film this weekend. After all if you aren't a fan of horror you aren’t going to go see Blair Witch. If you’re looking for something with substance that will make you think you’re going to pass on Bridget Jones’s Baby. And finally Snowden looks pretty serious, and what could be described as an R-rated Jason Bourne, so if you’re over that whole vibe you’re going to pick a film that seems more easily digestible and down to earth. Cue Sully – the perfect mainstream contender capable of flying well above the flock of so-so newcomers.

There’s no doubt that Sully is going to continue to make a splash in theaters as we coast our way to the Oscars and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the film found itself sitting at 2nd or 3rd next weekend as well. And while the academy hype of Sully will keep this film cruising at a brisk 40,000 feet, Blair Witch, Bridget Jones’s Baby, and Snowden all fell short of expectations this weekend.

First we have Blair Witch, which in all regards is technically a success as the film, made on a $5 million budget, did pull in nearly $15 million globally opening weekend. But this isn’t nearly the warm reception that Lionsgate was expecting. Following the surprise reveal back at Comic Con this year when audiences who went to go see a film they thought was titled “The Woods” found out it was actually a sequel to the 1999 industry-changing original, praise and excitement for the film dipped considerably as leading into last weekend the film ended up with a 37% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On top of that, the film received an incredibly terrible grade of “D+” from CinemaScore.

Lionsgate was hoping to use the nostalgia and mystique of the film to pull in a much larger success for itself this weekend, but clearly fans weren’t having it. Predictions had the film opening either at $20 million domestically, or just north of that similarly to how Don’t Breathe performed a few weekends ago. By Monday morning, however, the film ended its opening run with a modest $9.57 million. While have not seen the film I know that the less than desired success of this movie is most likely chalked up to the fact that most fans of the genre still have their fix from Don’t Breathe, and Blair Witch wasn’t bringing anything else to the table that could convince them otherwise.

Finishing in third and fourth this weekend was Bridget Jones’s Baby and Snowden, respectively. This one was a pretty close finish as Jones only beat Snowden by $570,000. However, Jones delivered a disappointing domestic opening as it was the worst for franchise yet. Which I’m not surprised in the slightest by as this film seems like an easily forgettable story, that is basically just a cash grab, and is yet again ANOTHER SEQUEL this year. We will have to turn our eyes towards its international performance, though, because if it does follow in its prequels’ footsteps Jones could be looking at grossing upwards of $200 million. This is yet another sign of how our little domestic box office doesn’t hold as much sway over the global box office as much as it used to.

Snowden which finished with $8 million by the end of the weekend did manage to score and “A” from audiences on Cinemascore, the best grade any of the three widest release films achieved. This one has been a bit of a dark horse for me ever since I heard it was releasing this month. First, it feels like it belongs in a January release window rather than in September as it’s all to do with the army, the government, and America. Second it takes itself far more seriously than your typical Action-B movie does. But on top of that this doesn’t really seem like a strong early Oscar contender either. While Joseph Gordon-Levitt is amazing and I am sure his performance is wonderful, this film feels strangely out of place. But there is a reason for that: Originally this film was slated to release last Christmas, which would have makes way more sense than its current predicament. But when a Christmas opening fell through the film was moved to a May 2016 release. Open Road eventually had to settle on September, which arguably was better than its potential May prospects. Regardless though, this film could have done much better coming out at the beginning of next year than in the middle of the fall wind up.

Looking ahead to next weekend we have the wildly fun looking Magnificent Seven and the adorable Warn Bros’ animated feature, Storks both opening in over 3,600 theatres. Sony’s Magnificent Seven is jam backed with A-list actors and might just prove to be more than a fun-shoot-em-up western reprise for your September viewing pleasure. However, the film isn’t getting great feedback as the film is scoring a 62% and 51% on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic respectively.

Storks on the other hand looks to be an adorable classic that families could easily fall in love with. Yes, it’ll feature talking animals just as various other animated films have featured this year, but this time it takes the well-known concept of Stork Delivery and gives it a truly intriguing and albeit comical twist, sure to be full of laughs, surprises, mishaps, and tender moments. With a tagline like “Find your flock” this one looks like it could be a great heartwarming movie that might just appeal to various audiences, but for sure looks like a great one to take your family to go see.

Well, that’s it for this week – go watch Sully keep soaring this coming weekend if you haven’t yet, go see Magnificent Seven if you want a taste of some good old western gold rush days, or go see Storks if you’re looking for some great innocent laughs. But no matter what make sure you go see something this coming weekend so that you can join the conversation with us on Making Dollars and Sense at the Box office!

-Matthew Miller

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