After accumulating $42.7M through yesterday, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s Sully is expected to remain at a high altitude in its second weekend, potentially veering Lionsgate’s horror follow-up Blair Witch off a course toward No. 1.
Sully‘s midweek momentum — Tuesday was up 54% over Monday with $4.6M — points toward a second weekend near $20M, while Blair Witch is looking largely to lure a mid- to high-teens three-day with a shot at $20M at an estimated 3,000 engagements.
After surprising genre fans at Comic-Con with a sneak preview (it’s not The Woods, it’s the Blair Witch!), the Adam Wingard-directed film is said to be a truer sequel to the 1999 indie The Blair Witch Project ($60K production cost, $140.5M domestic cume) than its hastily executed 2000 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 ($15M production cost, $26.4M domestic). With Blair Witch entering the marketplace, this is also where many say Don’t Breathe‘s pace (currently at $68.5M) slows down. Blair Witch cost $5M and carries an estimated P&A in the mid- to high-$20 millions. Thursday night shows kick off at 7 PM.
Older women are scheduling trips to see Universal/Working Title/StudioCanal/Miramax’s Bridget Jones’s Baby, which marks Oscar winner Renee Zellweger’s return to the big screen after six years. Fandango reports that Baby already is this weekend’s biggest advance ticket seller. The threequel arrives 12 years after Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and it’s actually expected to post the biggest opening out of the series with a mid-teen debut at 2,920 venues.
Insiders say the lag between installments boils down to the creative team nailing the right script. Currently reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes have responded positively at 82% fresh. Edge of Reason died here in the U.S. next to Bridget Jones’s Diary, $40.2M to $71.5M, however these chick pics clean up abroad, where they’ve cleared north of $210M. The same is expected for Baby, which will hit the source material’s UK homeland on the same day as the domestic along with 40 additional territories, including Australia, Spain, Mexico and Russia. Uni has select markets overseas for Baby. The pic’s pricetag before P&A is an estimated $35M, with Uni covering roughly a third of that with Miramax and StudioCanal covering the rest. Thursday shows begin at 7 PM.
Close to a year in the waiting, Oliver Stone’s Snowden, about NSA whistleblower and fugitive Edward Snowden, finally will surface at about 2,400 venues with a projected FSS between $8M-$10M. The Open Road Films release bounced around the calendar for several reasons: Initially it was a Christmas release, then landed on May 13 (there was talk the film would premiere at Cannes) before settling on this Friday. The first release-date change stemmed from Stone needing more time to edit, plus Snowden star Joseph Gordon-Levitt had The Walk in release last autumn as a potential awards contenders (which did not pan out). Open Road acquired Snowden before it was shot in November 2014, with the bulk of the $40M production cost being picked up by Vendian and Endgame.
In order to draw in the nerd demo, who might be intrigued by the film’s subject matter, Open Road screened the movie at Comic-Con in July with a Skyped appearance by Edward Snowden, and a dais that included Stone, Gordon-Levitt, and Shailene Woodley. The pic also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival this past week. Snowden screens tonight in select theaters followed by a Fathom Event Q&A with Stone, Gordon-Levitt and Woodley in New York, joined by Snowden via satellite from Moscow.
PureFlix has the music documentary Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, which follows the rise of the Australian-based church that has launched a huge Christian music ministry reaching 50M around the world, spurred by its band Hillsong United. The 11-member music group led by Joel Houston performs to sell-out stadium crowds and has sold 16M albums. Current industry estimate for this title at 815 locations is around $4M.