‘Sully’ soars for second week at North American box office287 views
Los Angeles (AFP) – “Sully,” the real-life story of a pilot who landed his disabled jet on New York’s Hudson River, grounded the competition at the North American box office for a second week, industry data showed on Monday.
The film, starring Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, earned $21.6 million over the weekend, beating out a trio of newcomers, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Sullenberger was a US Airways pilot who was hailed as a national hero in January 2009 after managing to save the lives of 155 passengers and crew in the emergency water landing.
The Clint Eastwood-directed film has earned $70.2 million at the box office in its first two weeks.
In second place was horror flick “Blair Witch,” a follow-up of the 1999 “The Blair Witch Project,” which earned $9.6 million.
Third place went to “Bridget Jones’s Baby” at $8.6 million. Renee Zellweger reprises her single-woman role in the “Bridget Jones” romantic-comedy saga, this time finding herself pregnant and unsure who is the father.
“Snowden,” director Oliver Stone’s film about Edward Snowden, the US intelligence contractor who leaked thousands of classified documents to journalists, opened in fourth place at $8 million
Suspense thriller “Don’t Breathe” slipped from third to fifth place, taking in $5.6 million. It opened four weeks ago at the top of the box office.
Rounding out the top 10 films were:
“When the Bough Breaks” ($5.5 million)
“Suicide Squad” ($4.7 million)
“The Wild Life” ($2.8 million)
“Kubo and the Two Strings” ($2.5 million)
“Pete’s Dragon” ($2.1 million)
On January 15, 2009, US Airways pilots Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffery Skiles board US Airways Flight 1549 from LaGuardia Airport en route to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, taking off within minutes. Barely three minutes into the flight, at an approximate altitude of 2,800 feet (approx. 850 m), the Airbus A320hits a flock of Canada geese, disabling both engines. Without engine power or any airports within a safe distance,Teterboro Airport being the closest, Sully decides to ditch the aircraft on the Hudson River. Sullenberger manages to land the aircraft in the Hudson with no casualties. The press and public immediately hail him as a hero, but the experience leaves him with PTSD, repeatedly envisioning the plane crashing into a building.
Afterwards, Sullenberger learns that tests conducted for the National Transportation Safety Board suggest that the left engine was still running at idle. Theoretically, this would have left Sullenberger with enough power to return to LaGuardia or land at Teterboro. Furthermore, the board of inquiry claims that several confidential flight simulations created from all available data conclude that the plane could have been able to safely land at either airport even with both engines disabled. Sullenberger, however, maintains that he lost both engines, which left him without nearly enough time, speed or altitude to safely land at any airport.
Sullenberger realizes that the NTSB is angling to have the accident deemed pilot error—which would effectively end his career. In a bid to save his reputation, he arranges to have the simulator pilots available for a live recreation at the public hearing on the accident. When both simulations land successfully, Sullenberger counters that the simulations were unrealistic because the pilots immediately knew what actions to take, thus removing human error. When pressed, the inquiry board admits that the pilots were allowed several practice sessions prior to the simulations that were shown at the hearing.
Conceding the point, the inquiry board orders the simulation redone with a 35-second pause after the bird strike before any emergency maneuvers are attempted—roughly matching Sullenberger’s reaction time. The LaGuardia simulation ends with the plane plowing through a pier, while the Teterboro simulation ends with the plane colliding with a building. After a short break, the board of inquiry announces that the left engine had been recovered from the Hudson, showing indisputable signs that it was completely destroyed by the bird strike. The board concludes that the loss of Flight 1549 was unavoidable, and that Sullenberger took the logical route to save the passengers’ lives.