By Joey Nolfi
September 08, 2016 at 09:03 PM EDT
Keith Bernstein; Michele K Short; Lionsgate

With the summer movie season officially behind us, Clint Eastwood’s Sully kicks off the fall movie season with a dash of prestige. After debuting to positive reviews at the Telluride Film Festival, Sully sets its sights on the North American box office, where it’s poised to gross a healthy amount atop long legs in the coming weeks. 

When the Bough Breaks, a psychological thriller from Sony/Screen Gems, will likely hit big with its target demographic and a No. 2 debut, though fellow wide releases The Wild Life and The Disappointments Room have a lot of ground to cover if they want to crack the top 5. 

Here’s what the Sept. 9-11 box office chart could look like by Sunday’s end: 

1. Sully — $25 million 

Though Clint Eastwood consistently finds himself among the good graces of both critics and the industry, his films are never surefire box office hits. Even when they star A-list Hollywood power players like Angelina Jolie (Changeling) and Matt Damon (Invictus), Eastwood’s directorial efforts don’t always find an audience. 

Sully, a $60 million biopic following the life of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), the US Airways pilot who successfully landed an Airbus on the Hudson River in 2009, seems to be generating a considerable amount of buzz as it heads to around 3,525 theaters. Warner Bros.’ marketing campaign has pushed the film prominently online and TV after the film’s solid reception at the Telluride Film Festival last weekend.

Though Hanks himself is less of a draw than he was, say, a decade ago, his films still command decent numbers. Last year’s Bridge of Spies quietly made over $72 million across its entire run ahead of receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, while Captain Phillips cruised to a stellar $107 million in 2013. Sully opens with a current Rotten Tomatoes rating of 81 percent. Those factors, combined with Hanks’ star power, should be enough to lift Sully into the $25-$30 million range over its opening weekend. 

2. When the Bough Breaks — $16 million 

It’s likely Sony/Screen Gems underestimated the box office power of its horror film Don’t Breathe, which opened to over $26 million two weeks ago; otherwise, it’s unlikely the studio would have opted to debut When the Bough Breaks, a $10 million psychological thriller gunning for the same demographic, in such close proximity.

Breathe is still going strong, having just topped the box office for the second week in a row. While it’s easing its way down the top 5, its presence will cut into Bough‘s numbers, though the Morris Chestnut/Regina Hall picture, about a couple who unknowingly hires a maniacal surrogate to carry their child, appeals to the same audience that catapulted films like The Perfect Guy ($25.9 million opening) and Obsessed ($28.6 million opening) to success in recent years. Look for the film to gross anywhere between $12 and $18 million this weekend. 

3. Don’t Breathe — $8 million 

Don’t Breathe will finally relinquish its box office crown to a different film this weekend, as the horror picture is poised to shed nearly 50 percent of its audience with When the Bough Breaks encroaching upon its target demographic. Still, the $10 million picture has already grossed nearly six times what it cost to make, as its domestic total stands at just under $58 million as of Thursday. 

4. Suicide Squad — $5 million 

Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad became the eighth highest-grossing film of 2016 on Monday, crossing the $300 million mark one month after its initial release. The critical dud’s impressive commercial run proved audiences want what they want, regardless of what film journalists and critics have to say about a film’s quality. Unadjusted for inflation, the film is the No. 2-grossing film in Will Smith’s filmography, trailing the overall haul of Independence Day by under $5 million. It should overtake the 1996 actioner within a matter of days. It has thus far made $679.4 million worldwide on a $175 million budget. 

5. The Wild Life — $5 million 

Though animated titles like Finding Dory, The Angry Birds Movie, and The Secret Life of Pets enjoyed financial success throughout the summer, a few flops (Ratchet & Clank, Ice Age: Collision Course) found their way into the mix as well. The Wild Life appears to be headed into the latter category, with mediocre foreign totals (it grossed a mere $20.9 million from 37 territories so far) fueling speculation that the film is headed toward a disappointing run in North America, where it debuts on approximately 2,400 screens with a 24 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Outside the top 5, the Kate Beckinsale horror flick The Disappointments Room is looking to live up to its title, with an opening projected to be in the $2-4 million range on around 1,500 screens. 

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