Clint Eastwood’s ‘Sully’ draws a mature audience

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Clint Eastwood’s ‘Sully’ draws a mature audience

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“Sully,” the kind of adult-oriented, mid-budget drama that isn’t supposed to succeed in theaters 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, “Sully” collected an estimated $35.5 million at North American cinemas, according to comScore, which compiles box office data. That result was roughly 40 percent higher than what most analysts had predicted before the film’s release. “Sully” cost Warner Bros. and financing partners like Village Roadshow about $60 million to make before promotion costs. The well-reviewed movie, a dramatization of the 2009 emergency landing by Capt. 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. About 80 percent of the audience was over the age of 35, Warner said on Sunday. Among all audiences, “Sully” received an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls. The strong results extended Eastwood’s hot streak. His previous film was “American Sniper,” which 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. Warner and Village Roadshow were thrilled by the “Sully” results, as were theater owners: early September can be no man’s land at the box office, as most studios steer clear of back-to-school season and the heavily marketed arrival of new television shows. Imax said Sunday that “Sully” set a September record for its circuit. Eastwood shot “Sully” entirely with Imax cameras, a first for a major Hollywood film.

Arriving in second place was “When the Bough Breaks,” a poorly reviewed Sony Pictures Entertainment thriller starring Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall. It collected a muted $15 million. (But it cost just $10 million to produce.) Results were worse for other new movies. “The Wild Life” (Lionsgate), an independently financed animated movie, took in about $3.4 million, while a horror movie, “The Disappointments Room” (Relativity), more than lived up to its title, with an abysmal $1.4 million in ticket sales. AP
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