There's mixed news at the Friday box office, where holdover Sully is flying circles around new offerings Blair Witch, Bridget Jones's Baby and Oliver Stone's Snowden, according to early projections.
Blair Witch, a direct sequel to the 1999 found-footage classic horror film, looks to fair the best with anywhere from $13 million to $17 million from 3,121 locations, according to predictions, which vary wildly. If it comes in the higher side, Blair Witch will place No. behind Sully, which is expected to clear $20 million or more in a continued victory for Warner Bros., director Clint Eastwood and star Tom Hanks.
British romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Baby, reuniting Renee Zellweger with Colin Firth and introducing Patrick Dempsey to the series, looks to open in the $11 million-$13 million range from 2,927 theaters unless traffic picks up Saturday. That would mark a subdued start. Earlier this year, Universal's My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 debuted to $17.8 milion.
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 threequel 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 $35 million film.
Bridget Jones's Baby also opens day and date in the U.K., where it's hoping to be a big player.
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 based on first box-office returns show Snowden opening in $6 million-$8 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.
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 Mr. Church, marking Eddie Murphy's first turn on the big screen since 2012.
Sept. 16, 1:30 p.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.