A dramatic biopic starring Tom Hanks took the top of the box office in September? Who could’ve predicted. Put your seats in the upright position, and let’s dive into the details of the blatant Oscar bait’s victory in this week’s Making Dollars and Sense at the Box Office!
Landing in the number one spot with $35 million was Clint Eastwood’s Sully starring Tom Hanks in the “real life” story of Chesley Sullenberger who landed a plane with 155 passengers into the Hudson river back in January of 2009. The quotations are intentional here as this is a case of an Oscar bait film packing on dramatic liberties to an otherwise “plane” real life story in order to sell more tickets. And releasing it the weekend of 9/11 is no coincidence either, considering how planes are on everyone’s mind anyway and Clint Eastwood knows just how to rub patriotic audiences the right way (see: American Sniper). But the inaccuracies flew under the radar, and the lawsuits that this film has come under didn’t stop Sully from being a success with audiences and critics, with many praising Hanks’ performance as well as the vastly underrated Aaron Eckhart. Sure, $35 million isn’t exactly a sky high number, but the budget was around $60 million so the film doesn't seem to be experiencing any turbulence in the slightest; if it snags those Oscar nominations that the film seems to be so clearly begging for, I’m sure it will be a while before we see this plane land.
The number two spot this weekend belongs to When the Bough Breaks, an erotic thriller starring Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut, pulling in $14 million on a $10 million budget. Despite being panned by critics, the success of this film is likely due to the fact that it’s the only PG-13 film to open this weekend that appeals to the younger crowd (because they aren’t going to see Sully, let’s be real - that movie was made for grandparents). They finally have something different to see since they’ve probably seen Suicide Squad at least three times by now, which I’ve heard is the amount of times you can see it before permanently smelling like cheap cologne, and they aren’t going to see Kubo and the Two Strings, Pete’s Dragon, or The Wild Life as we’ve already learned in prior weeks they are too cool for. However, it doesn’t look like When the Bough Breaks grabbed too many of the 17+ crowd, considering Don’t Breathe holds the next spot with $8.2 million at number three. The other newcomer, The Wild Life, was a surprising success at number five with $3.4 million (a mere $40,000 more than Kubo made in its fourth week) which is not too shabby for a movie that looks like a straight-to-DVD five-dollar-bin distraction for two-year-olds.
Looking ahead to this coming weekend, we finally get to see Adam Wingard’s sequel to The Blair Witch Project, simply titled Blair Witch, which I have been eagerly awaiting ever since they revealed that the horror film titled The Woods was actually secretly this film the whole time. If that’s not brilliant marketing, I don’t know what is (they even had a fake title for their fake title!). Every early review has said that it’s a worthy sequel to the 1999 classic, which is what launched “found footage” into the mainstream and gave us the likes of the Paranormal Activity franchise and plenty of others. The original Blair Witch Project is one of my favorite horror films, so you can bet I’ll be first in line for this one!
We also have Bridget Jones’s Baby, the third in the trilogy starring Rene Zellweger about an English woman characterized by her quirky awkwardness and stumbles through life trying to figure out love. It’s been a minute since the last installment, but this script was written by the author of the Bridget Jones novels and brings back most of the cast, so it seems like a little bit more than just a quick paycheck. Snowden also opens this weekend, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden, and is a story about, you guessed it, Edward Snowden. If you don’t know who he is, read his Wikipedia page and watch the fascinating interview he did with John Oliver. The movie looks alright, too, though it probably would do better in a January bag of films, and JGL has yet to let us down. And lastly, Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, a documentary about the Australian worship band, opens in a mere 815 theaters but will surely do well for itself. It’s like they say in the trailer: they’re the biggest band you’ve never heard of, and the faithful following will surely turn out to prove that true.
That’s all for this week! Go see something, anything, this weekend to keep movie houses in business, and we’ll see you next time on Making Dollars and Sense!