Sully beats Blair Witch to stay atop North American box office

Tom Hanks stars in Sully.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Sully, the story of a real-life pilot who landed his disabled jetliner on New York's Hudson River, stayed atop the North American box office this weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The film, which debuted in the top spot a week ago, soundly defeated challenges from three new films to keep the number-one rank with a take of US$22 million ($30 million), according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Tom Hanks plays Chesley Sullenberger, a US Airways pilot who was hailed as a national hero in January 2009 after managing to save the lives of 155 passengers and crew in the emergency water landing.

The Clint Eastwood-directed film has piled up a whopping US$70.5 million at the box office in its first two weeks.

Three newcomers trailed far behind Sully. Horror flick Blair Witch, a follow-up of the 1999 The Blair Witch Project, opened far behind in second place at the box office at US$9.7 million.

Third place went to Bridget Jones's Baby at US$8.2 million. Renee Zellweger reprises her single-woman role in the Bridget Jones romantic-comedy saga, this time finding herself pregnant and unsure who is the father.

Snowden, director Oliver Stone's film about Edward Snowden, the US intelligence contractor who leaked thousands of classified documents to journalists, opened in fourth place at US$8.02 million Suspense thriller Don't Breathe slipped from third to fifth place, taking in US$5.60 million. It opened four weeks ago at the top of the box office.

Rounding out the top 10 films were: When the Bough Breaks (US$5.5 million) Suicide Squad (US$4.7 million) The Wild Life (US$2.7 million) Kubo and the Two Strings (US$2.5 million) Pete's Dragon (US$2.0 million).