Sully: Eastwood’s Biopic Starring Tom Hanks Rules Box-Office–Again

Blair Witch and Bridget Jones’s Baby, two sequels to films that first hit theaters a generation ago, stumbled in their debuts this weekend, earning a meagre $9.7 million and $8.2 million, respectively.

They were easily overpowered by Sully, the Clint Eastwood drama about the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” emergency plane landing that features Tom Hanks as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger.

Sully continues to benefit from strong critical support: According to RottenTomatoes, it has 82 percent approval from reviewers (and only 18 percent of negative notices).

The Warner release topped the domestic box office for a second consecutive weekend, earning $22 million and pushing its stateside total to $70.5 million.

By next Sunday, it’s expected to cross the $100 million mark domestically.

“It’s a well-made story,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner distribution executive vice president. “The word-of-mouth is sensational.”

The weekend’s other wide-release launch, Oliver Stone’s Snowden was also over-shadowed by the aeronautical heroics of Sully, picking up only $8 million from 2,443 locations for a fourth-place finish.

The look at Edward Snowden stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and got a mixed reception at the Toronto International Film Fest.

In contrast to Sully, Snownden has divided critics, and only 58 percent of the reviews have been positive.

Some critics called it a return to form for Stone, a director whose recent work such as W and The Savages has failed to capture the attention, critical acclaim, and commercial appeal of earlier efforts like Platoon and JFK.  But it’s all relative.

However, the NSA leaker remains a controversial figure in American politics, a whistleblower to some and a traitor to others, which might have limited the picture’s attraction.