Box office: Sully soars high as the fall awards season begins

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A tale of real-life heroism got the fall awards season off to a good start this week.

Sully — starring Tom Hanks as the airline pilot who saved all of his passengers and crew when he landed his birdstruck plane in the Hudson River seven years ago — earned an estimated $35.5 million between Thursday and Sunday nights.

That’s the fifth-best opening ever for September, traditionally a fairly slow month, and it’s the best opening ever for the weekend after Labour Day (previous champ: Scott Derrickson’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose, 2005, $30.1 million).

It’s also the best opening ever for a Tom Hanks film that wasn’t a Toy Story sequel or based on a Dan Brown novel. In one weekend, Sully has also already outgrossed recent Tom Hanks films like A Hologram for the King, Cloud Atlas and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and it may have outgrossed Larry Crowne, as well.

Sully also marks the second-best first weekend in wide release of any film directed by Clint Eastwood, behind American Sniper (which had a limited release in December 2014 before earning $89.3 million in its first wide weekend in January 2015).

There were two other new releases in the top ten this week.

When the Bough Breaks, a thriller about a surrogate mom who threatens to come between the couple who hired her, landed in second place with $15 million.

And The Wild Life, an animated film about some island-based animals who hang out with Robinson Crusoe, flopped in fifth place with only $3.4 million.

Finally, Ben-Hur earned only $555,000 and landed in 20th place in its fourth week. The film has grossed $25.6 million in North America and another $40.2 million overseas, where it is still rolling out, for a worldwide total of $65.8 million.

Meanwhile, in other box-office news…

Don’t Breathe earned $8.2 million and ranked third in its third week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $66.8 million. The film has earned another $20.3 million overseas for a global total of $87.1 million.

Suicide Squad earned $5.7 million and ranked fourth in its sixth week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $307.4 million. The film has earned another $392 million overseas for a global total of $699.4 million.

Kubo and the Two Strings earned $3.2 million and ranked sixth in its fourth week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $40.8 million. The film has earned another $8.4 million overseas for a global total of $49.2 million.

Pete’s Dragon earned $2.9 million and ranked seventh in its fifth week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $70 million. The film has earned another $32.2 million overseas for a global total of $102.2 million.

Bad Moms earned $2.8 million and ranked eighth in its seventh week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $107.5 million. The film has earned another $44.4 million overseas for a global total of $151.9 million.

Hell or High Water earned $2.6 million and ranked ninth in its fifth week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $19.8 million. The film has earned another $274,259 for a global total of $20.1 million.

And Sausage Party earned $2.3 million and ranked tenth in its fifth week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $93.2 million. The film has earned another $20.4 million overseas for a global total of $113.6 million.

Now for a bit of extra data on Ben-Hur’s place among “faith-based” and Bible films:

Ben-Hur still ranks 12th among recent Bible-themed films in North America:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 million
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $101.4 million
  • 2014 — Noah — $101.2 million
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $65 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 million
  • 2009 — Year One — $43.3 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $36.9 million
  • 1981 — History of the World, Part I — $31.7 million
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $30.1 million
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $25.58 million
  • 2016 — Ben-Hur — $25.56 million
  • 1979 — Monty Python’s Life of Brian — $20 million
  • 1980 — Wholly Moses! — $14.2 million
  • 2006 — One Night with the King — $13.4 million
  • 1988 — The Last Temptation of Christ — $8.4 million
  • 2016 — The Young Messiah — $6.5 million
  • 1985 — King David — $5.1 million
  • 2003 — The Gospel of John — $4.1 million

It also now ranks fifth among Bible-themed films of the past 20 years overseas (Box Office Mojo doesn’t have foreign figures for older Bible-themed films):

  • 2014 — Noah — $261.4 million
  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $241.1 million
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $203.2 million
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $117.2 million
  • 2016 — Ben-Hur — $40.2 million
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $33.1 million
  • 2009 — Year One — $19.0 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $11.1 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $9.2 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $8.8 million

And it now ranks sixth among Bible-themed films of the past 20 years worldwide:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 + 241.1 = 611.9 million
  • 2014 — Noah — $101.2 + 261.4 = 362.6 million
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $65.0 + 203.2 = 268.2 million
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $101.4 + 117.2 = 218.6 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 + 11.1 = 70.8 million
  • 2016 — Ben-Hur — $25.6 + 40.2 = 65.8 million
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $30.1 + 33.1 = 63.2 million
  • 2009 — Year One — $43.3 + 19.0 = 62.4 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 + 8.8 = 46.4 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $36.9 + 9.2 = 46.1 million

Ben-Hur also still ranks 14th among “faith-based” films in North America:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 million
  • 2014 — Heaven Is for Real — $91.4 million
  • 2015 — War Room — $67.8 million
  • 2016 — Miracles from Heaven — $61.7 million
  • 2014 — God’s Not Dead — $60.8 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 million
  • 2011 — Soul Surfer — $43.9 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $36.9 million
  • 2011 — Courageous — $34.5 million
  • 2008 — Fireproof — $33.5 million
  • 2014 — When the Game Stands Tall — $30.1 million
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $25.58 million
  • 2016 — Ben-Hur — $25.56 million
  • 2016 — God’s Not Dead 2 — $20.8 million
  • 2005 — The Gospel — $15.8 million

And now for a bit of extra data on the year’s top-grossing animated films:

In North America, The Secret Life of Pets still ranks eighth among animated films:

  • 2016 — Finding Dory (Pixar) — $483.6 million
  • 2004 — Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) — $441.2 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $422.8 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $415.0 million
  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $400.7 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $380.8 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $368.1 million
  • 2016 — The Secret Life of Pets (Universal) — $361.8 million
  • 2015 — Inside Out (Pixar) — $356.5 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $341.3 million

Overseas, Finding Dory now ranks 17th, The Secret Life of Pets now ranks 22nd, and Ice Age: Collision Course still ranks 36th:

  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $875.7 million
  • 2015 — Minions (Universal) — $823.4 million
  • 2012 — Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox) — $715.9 million
  • 2009 — Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) — $690.1 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $682.2 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $648.2 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $602.7 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $559.5 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $545.7 million
  • 2012 — Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (DreamWorks) — $530.5 million
  • 2010 — Shrek Forever After (DreamWorks) — $513.9 million
  • 2015 — Inside Out (Pixar) — $501.1 million
  • 2011 — Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks) — $500.4 million
  • 2004 — Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) — $478.6 million
  • 2007 — Shrek the Third (DreamWorks) — $476.2 million
  • 2013 — Monsters University (Pixar) — $475.7 million
  • 2016 — Finding Dory (Pixar) — $467.0 million
  • 2006 — Ice Age: The Meltdown (Fox) — $465.6 million
  • 2014 — How to Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks) — $444.5 million
  • 2009 — Up (Pixar) — $442.1 million
  • 2014 — Big Hero 6 (Disney) — $435.3 million
  • 2016 — The Secret Life of Pets (Universal) — $427.2 million
  • 2008 — Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (DreamWorks) — $423.9 million
  • 2008 — Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks) — $416.3 million
  • 2007 — Ratatouille (Pixar) — $414.3 million
  • 2011 — Puss in Boots (DreamWorks) — $405.7 million
  • 2013 — The Croods (DreamWorks) — $400.0 million
  • 2010 — Tangled (Disney) — $391.0 million
  • 2016 — Kung Fu Panda 3 (DreamWorks) — $376.4 million
  • 2004 — The Incredibles (Pixar) — $371.6 million
  • 2011 — Cars 2 (Pixar) — $370.7 million
  • 2014 — Rio 2 (Fox) — $368.6 million
  • 2007 — The Simpsons Movie (Fox) — $343.9 million
  • 2011 — Rio (Fox) — $341.0 million
  • 2005 — Madagascar (DreamWorks) — $339.1 million
  • 2016 — Ice Age: Collision Course — $334.1 million
  • 2008 — WALL-E (Pixar) — $309.5 million
  • 2015 — Hotel Transylvania 2 — $303.5 million
  • 2012 — Brave (Pixar) — $303.2 million
  • 2011 — The Adventures of Tintin — $296.4 million

And worldwide, Finding Dory still ranks seventh, while The Secret Life of Pets still ranks 14th:

  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $400.7 + 875.7 = 1276.5 million
  • 2015 — Minions (Universal) — $336.0 + 823.4 = 1159.4 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $415.0 + 648.2 = 1063.2 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $341.3 + 682.2 = 1023.4 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $368.1 + 602.7 = 970.8 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $422.8 + 545.7 = 968.5 million
  • 2016 — Finding Dory (Pixar) — $483.6 + 467.0 = 950.6 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $380.8 + 559.5 = 940.3 million
  • 2004 — Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) — $441.2 + 478.6 = 919.8 million
  • 2009 — Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) — $196.6 + 690.1 = 886.7 million
  • 2012 — Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox) — $161.3 + 715.9 = 877.2 million
  • 2015 — Inside Out (Pixar) — $356.5 + 501.1 = 857.6 million
  • 2007 — Shrek the Third (DreamWorks) — $322.7 + 476.2 = 799.0 million
  • 2016 — The Secret Life of Pets (Universal) — $361.8 + 427.2 = 789.0 million
  • 2010 — Shrek Forever After (DreamWorks) — $238.7 + 513.9 = 752.6 million
  • 2012 — Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (DreamWorks) — $216.4 + 530.5 = 746.9 million
  • 2013 — Monsters University (Pixar) — $268.5 + 475.7 = 744.2 million
  • 2009 — Up (Pixar) — $293.0 + 442.1 = 735.1 million
  • 2011 — Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks) — $165.2 + 500.4 = 665.7 million
  • 2006 — Ice Age: The Meltdown (Fox) — $195.3 + 465.6 = 660.9 million

Next week brings us Snowden, Bridget Jones’s Baby and Hillsong: Let Hope Rise.

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