NEW YORK • Sully, the kind of adult-oriented, mid-budget drama that is not supposed to succeed in theatres anymore, at least if you listen to franchise-obsessed studio executives, soared at the box office over the weekend.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, 86, and starring Tom Hanks in a role that may well earn him Oscar attention, Warner Bros' Sully took an estimated US$35.5 million (S$48.3 million) at North American cinemas, according to comScore, which compiles boxoffice data. It cost about US$60 million to make before promotion costs.
The well-reviewed dramatisation of the 2009 emergency landing by Captain Chesley Sullenberger of a jet on the Hudson River connected primarily with older moviegoers, who are usually reluctant to come out on hoopla-filled opening weekends. Among all audiences, Sully received an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls.
The strong results extended Eastwood's hot streak - his previous film American Sniper was the No. 1 domestic release of 2014 - and revealed built-up demand by adult moviegoers after a summer filled with big-budget sequels and reboots over-reliant on computer- generated imagery.
Imax said on Sunday that Sully set a September record for its circuit. Eastwood shot it entirely with Imax cameras, a first for a major Hollywood film.
At No. 2 was When The Bough Breaks, a poorly reviewed Sony thriller, which collected a muted US$15 million. Lionsgate animated movie The Wild Life opened at No. 5 with US$3.4 million, while horror movie The Disappointments Room, from Relativity, more than lived up to its title, with an abysmal US$1.4 million in ticket sales.
Of note was Hell Or High Water, a celebrated heist thriller from CBS Films starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine, which became the No. 1 limited release of the year, surpassing Eye In The Sky to take in about US$20 million over five weeks.