Adult audiences turned out in droves to take the plunge with "Sully," director Clint Eastwood's dramatization of the Miracle on the Hudson. The film took in $35.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, surpassing expectations by around $10 million.
Tom Hanks stars as Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who made an emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009 minutes after take off. In addition to showing Sully's feat, the film explores the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the landing.
Both audiences and critics responded strongly to the taut drama — Eastwood's first since "American Sniper." An estimated 80 percent of those who saw it were over age 35, too, according to Warner Bros.
"This is the kind of sophisticated drama that is the antidote for older audiences to the youth-driven blockbuster stylings of the summer season," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore. "It proves that going to the movies is not just a youth-driven habit."
In fact, according to comScore's PostTrak audience survey, 39 percent turned out because of Hanks.
Taking second place with $15 million was the Screen Gems thriller "When the Bough Breaks," starring Morris Chestnut and Regina Hill. It surpassed its modest $10 million budget but failed to meet the precedent set by last year's African-American thriller "The Perfect Guy," which made $25.9 million on the same weekend.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters:
1. "Sully," $35.5 million.
2. "When the Bough Breaks," $15 million.
3. "Don't Breathe," $8.2 million.
4. "Suicide Squad," $5.7 million.
5. "The Wild Life," $3.4 million.
6. "Kubo and the Two Strings," $3.2 million.
7. "Pete's Dragon," $2.9 million.
8. "Bad Moms," $2.8 million.
9. "Hell or High Water," $2.6 million.
10. "Sausage Party," $2.3 million.