Last weekend, Sully proved that even September movies can put up big numbers at the box office, with an impressive opening weekend of $35 million, earning back more than half of its $60 million budget. This weekend it will go up against three newcomers, Lionsgate's secretive horror sequel Blair Witch, Universal's romantic comedy sequel Bridget Jones's Baby and Open Road Films' Snowden. We're predicting that horror wins out, with the R-rated Blair Witch landing on top with an estimated $22.3 million.
Sully has certainly been a hit with fans and critics (84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and it is expected to still have the widest release of any movie in theaters this weekend. It debuted in 3,525 theaters last weekend, and while we don't know the specific theater count for this weekend, it will certainly be much more than all three newcomers, according to Box Office Mojo. Bridget Jones' Baby, starring Renee Zellweger, will debut in over 2,950 theaters, while Blair Witch is expected to arrive in 2,850 theaters and Snowden will debut in 2,400 theaters. PureFlix is also debuting the documentary Hillsong - Let Hope Rise in 815 theaters.
Both Blair Witch, which was previously known as The Woods before it was unveiled as a secret sequel to the 1999 classic The Blair Witch Project, and Bridget Jones's Baby are hits with the critics already, with Blair Witch amassing a 61% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while Bridget Jones's Baby has an astounding 88% rating. Snowden, however, received a much more mixed reception, with just a 43% rating. These numbers can certainly change between now and Friday, but it remains to be seen how the critical response will affect the box office performance. We're predicting that Sully will drop to second place with $17.4 million, followed by Bridget Jones' Baby with $12.6 million, Snowden with $10.2 million and When the Bough Breaks rounding out the top 5 with $7.2 million.
Blair Witch follows a group of college students who venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James' sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined. Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett reunite for this thriller, after working on critically-acclaimed thrillers such as The Guest and You're Next.
Oscar winners Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth are joined by Patrick Dempsey for the next chapter of the world's favorite singleton in Bridget Jones's Baby. Directed by Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones's Diary), the new film in the beloved comedy series based on creator Helen Fielding's heroine finds Bridget unexpectedly expecting. After breaking up with Mark Darcy (Firth), Bridget Jones's (Zellweger) "happily ever after" hasn't quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch...she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby's father.
Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone, who brought Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK to the big screen, tackles the most important and fascinating true story of the 21st century. Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world. He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year.
The top 10 will likely be rounded out by Don't Breathe ($4.6 million), Suicide Squad ($3.2 million), The Wild Life ($1.8 million), Kubo and the Two Strings ($1.5 million) and Pete's Dragon ($1.3 million). Also opening in limited release next weekend is Abramorama's documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years, China Lion's thriller Cock and Bull, Independent's thriller The Good Neighbor, The Orchard's comedy Miss Stevens, FilmRise's documentary Silicon Cowboys and The Weinstein Company's comedy adventure Wild Oats. We don't know if there are plans for these limited release titles to expand in the weeks and months to come.
Looking ahead to next week, two new movies arrive in wide release, Sony Pictures' Western remake The Magnificent Seven and Warner Bros.' Storks. Also opening in limited release is Strand's Closet Monster, Broad Green Pictures' The Dressmaker, Magnolia's The Lovers and the Despot, Under the Milky Way's Made in France, Indican's New World Order and Disney's Queen of Katwe, which will expand into a wide release on September 30. Check back on Sunday for the box office estimates, and again next Tuesday for the latest round of predictions. In the meantime, take a look at our predictions for the weekend of September 16.