Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros.' Sully continues to fly high at the North American box office, while new offerings Bridget Jones's Baby and Blair Witch are badly underperforming in a surprise twist.
Oliver Stone's Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the infamous NSA whistleblower, could even edge out Bridget Jones.
Sully topped Friday's chart with $6.6 million for a projected $22 million-plus weekend, putting the biographical drama's domestic cume north of $70 million.
Blair Witch, a direct sequel to the 1999 found-footage classic horror film, looks to place No. 2 for the weekend with $9.7 million from 3,202 locations after earning $4.1 million Friday. Heading into the weekend, the Lionsgate entry was expected to earn in the mid- to high-teens. While it isn't unusual for horror films to be slapped with some variation of a C CinemaScore, Blair Witch earned a rare D+ from Friday moviegoers.
British romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Baby, reuniting Renee Zellweger with Colin Firth and introducing Patrick Dempsey to the series, likewise looked to launch in the mid- to high-teens according to tracking. Instead, the threequel, earning a B+ CinemaScore, is now on course to take in just $9 million from 2,927 theaters after collecting $3 million Friday.
Universal insiders had hoped Bridget Jones's Baby would match My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 , which opened to $17.8 million earlier this year.
The movie's fate will now largely depend upon its performance overseas. It's launching in 39 territories this weekend, including the U.K., where it opened Friday to $4 million to command 67 percent of the marketplace and score the biggest opening day ever for either a comedy or a romantic comedy. All told, Bridget Jones's Baby has grossed $13 million internationally through Friday for a projected $29.4 million weekend.
The latest Bridget Jones opens 15 years after Bridget Jones's Diary - starring Renee Zellweger, Firth and Hugh Grant - became a cultural phenomenon. Sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason followed in 2004. The film was once again produced by the British-based Working Title Films, with StudioCanal and Miramax (distributor of the first film) partnering with Universal on the modestly budgeted $35 million film.
Close attention is being paid to the performance of Stone's Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo and Tom Wilkinson also star.
The film, which is being distributed in the U.S. by Open Road Films, hopes to be an awards-season player and recently made a stop at the Toronto International Film Festival (as did Blair Witch). Open Road distributed last year's Oscar-winning Spotlight.
Early projections show Snowden opening in the $9 million range from 2,443 theaters. Heading into the weekend, tracking had suggested a $10 million weekend. However, the film could enjoy strong legs depending upon its standing in the awards race. It also earned an A CinemaScore.
Also opening this weekend is documentary Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, which chronicles the popular Australia-based Christian band. The film is rolling out in only 816 theaters for a projected $2 million-$3 million weekend.
New offerings at the specialty box office include Ron Howard's documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years. The movie is opening in 90 theaters at the same time that it is being made available on Hulu.
Mr. Church, marking Eddie Murphy's first turn on the big screen since 2012, also is playing ion select theaters.
Sept. 16, 1:30 p.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.
Sept. 17, 7:30 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers and revised weekend projections.