Sully thwarts Bridget Jones return at US box office

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Bridget Jones’s Baby sees a pregnant Bridget in an on-off relationship with Mark Darcy

Bridget Jones’s return to the big screen has entered the North American box office chart in third place, behind Tom Hanks’ Sully and Blair Witch.

Renee Zellweger’s reprisal of her romantic heroine after 12 years in Bridget Jones’s Baby made $8.2m (£6.2m), according to studio estimates.

Meanwhile the Blair Witch revival came second after making $9.7m (£7.4m).

Both returns were pipped by Tom Hanks’s Sully which held first place for a second week with $22m (£17m).

Directed by Clint Eastwood, Sully recreates the real-life 2009 “miracle on the Hudson” emergency landing by pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

He managed to land the US Airways plane in New York’s Hudson River after it hit a flock of geese and all 155 people survived.

Bridget Jones’s Baby, adapted again from stories written by British writer Helen Fielding, sees a now pregnant Bridget, in an on-off relationship with Mark Darcy. Bridget is unsure of Darcy or a new love, played by Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey, is the father.

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The Blair Witch sequel again sees a group off young adults head off into the woods

The film had been much anticipated in the UK with enthusiasm fuelled by the popularity of its predecessors, Bridget Jones’s Diary from 2001 and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason from 2004.

But the franchise’s popularity has historically not been as strong in the US, with Bridget Jones’s Diary making its debut at number three with $10.7m (£8.2m).

The Edge of Reason then opened first on limited release at number five, with $8.6m (£6.5m), and stayed in that position for its general release weekend with takings of $10m (£7.7m).

“We always think just because something has a recognisable brand name that it’ll automatically be a hit with audiences, but that’s not always the case,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore, told AP.

But the film fared better overseas, where it earned $29.9m (£23m) in 39 markets, including the UK.

The return of horror film Blair Witch Project again sees a group of young adult friends head off into the woods, this time in search of Heather who disappeared in the original 1999 movie. The group is led by Heather’s brother James.

North American box office top five
1. Sully $22m (£17m)
2. Blair Witch $9.7m (£7.4m)
3. Bridget Jones’s Baby $8.2m (£6.2m)
4. Snowden $8m (£6m)
5. Don’t Breathe $5.6m (£4.3m)
Source: ComScore

The film was expected to make about $20m (£15m) in its opening weekend, potentially taking the lead from Sully, but its relatively poor performance has been attributed by some industry commentators to not only some poor reviews but also on the lack of familiarity with the original hit film within the contemporary young target audience.

The top five also included Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt portraying NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, which opened at number four with $8m (£6m). The debut marks the lowest in filmmaker Oliver Stone’s career.

And a previous number one thriller Don’t Breathe, about three teenagers who burgle a house but find that its blind owner is not as helpless as he appears, was at number five after making $5.6m (£4.3m).

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