Leaving Labor Day behind, we waste little time in reaching our first awards contender of the fall season, with a combination of cast, crew and subject that, on paper at least, seems to have everything needed in a fall prestige picture. And yet...
Weekend Forecast for September 9-11, 2016
By Reagen Sulewski
September 8, 2016
In January of 2009, a fully loaded Airbus A320 took off from LaGuardia Airport, encountering a birdstrike two minutes into its flight, wrecking both engines, and then four minutes later ditching in the Hudson River with no casualties. It remains the most successful emergency water landing in aviation history, and is the subject of the much longer than six minute movie Sully.
Tom Hanks plays the eponymous pilot, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger who became a national hero for a period of time after the accident, praised for his quick thinking and ability to get the plane down safely with no power to the engines. What this film proposes to show is the after-the-fact investigation of the incident which questioned whether Sullenberger took unnecessary risks in getting the plane down, and the personal turmoil the event took on him. It feels a bit... thin, even at just over an hour and a half long.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, it's in line with his “heroic men's men, mistreated by the system” kick he's on lately, and trying to pretend Sullenberger was anything but deified from the start stretches credulity. It does have those incredible six minutes of action during the flight to lean on, however, and that's what this movie is really hanging its hat on. It's a bit like Flight, but for real, and without the alcoholism – and in this case, some character flaws probably would have improved things. If anything, Sullenberger is too noble of a character to make a movie about. Comparing with Flight, that film opened to just under $25 million, and that is close to right for Sully. It's notable that Hanks isn't a sure fire box office draw just on his own merits anymore, with this spring's A Hologram for the King never even making it into wide release. I'd look for about $23 million this weekend.
A thriller targeting largely African-American markets, When the Bough Breaks seems to be something of an update on The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall star as a successful couple who hire a surrogate (Jaz Sinclair) to carry their child. Naturally, things being what they are, jealousy develops and Sinclair decides that while she's there and pregnant (and crazy) she might as well just take over the wife role too. Violence and yelling ensues and the family order must be preserved. Lesson learned: never hire a hot surrogate.
This is following in the footsteps of a couple of thrillers in a similar slot from the last couple of years, No Good Deed and The Perfect Guy, both of which opened in the $25 million range, though faded quickly. Bough shares Morris Chestnut with last year's thriller, though the ads and reviews for this one look a little worse than previous films in this genre. I expect this one to fall a bit in comparison to those films, earning about $19 million this weekend.
The Wild Life, released earlier this year as Robinson Crusoe in Europe (why change the title?!?), tells the story of, well, Robinson Crusoe from the point-of-view of the animals on the desert island with him, and his struggles to survive the element, and then also pirates. A Belgian production, with zero familiar names in the voice cast, this is a noisy-looking, hyperactive and cheaply animated farce of a release and should have zero impact. When animation bombs, it bombs hard, and this should come in with about $3 million.
Another of the Relativity Media orphans, The Disappointments Room, brings together the creative team we've alllll been waiting for – D.J. Caruso and Wentworth Miller are director and writer, respectively, behind a horror/thriller. That title is just asking for it.
Kate Beckinsale stars with Lucas Till as a couple that move to a great Gothic Southern mansion that has a secret locked room. As she works to open and unlock the mystery, Beckinsale's sanity starts to stretch, and secrets about herself bubble up to the surface. It's The Vague Room, amirite? Opening in only around 1,500 venues with little advertising and not being released for critics, I'd expect very little from this film, and about $2 million opening weekend seems right.
Don't Breathe should yield the top spot at the box office after two straight on top and a little over $50 million in domestic earnings so far. The high-concept horror film (but then aren't they all?) found an audience with a unique, inverted premise and road word-of-mouth and intriguing trailers. It should bring in about $8 million this weekend.
Suicide Squad passed $300 million on Monday, a total that still feels disappointing after its hot start and tons of generated buzz. With about one more weekend of relevance, it should hit a final figure of about $320 million, and earn about $5 million this frame.