‘Captain Phillips’ Strong – and Older-Skewing – in Box Office Sneak Previews

Sony’s Tom Hanks’ piracy drama sells out in large and small markets and 71% of audience is over 35

Sony’s Saturday night sneak previews for “Captain Phillips” suggest the piracy drama is going to be a box office hit — and skew older.

The awards hopeful, which stars Tom Hanks in the fact-based tale of a sea captain whose ship is besieged by Somali pirates, opens nationwide on Friday.

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The studio reported the sneaks at roughly 800 theaters were at least 75 percent full throughout the country and there were sellouts in major markets New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, but also in smaller cities including San Antonio, Minneapolis, Vancouver and Long Beach, California.

The audience was evenly divided between male and female, while a whopping 71 percent was over 35.

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“We knew this movie was going to be well-received and that’s why we got it out there early,” Sony’s head of distribution Rory Bruer told TheWrap. He wasn’t surprised by the movie’s older skew.

“We figured (older audiences) might be where it would start, but we’re confident that as word gets out, it’s going to play with all ages,” he said.

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The early screenings were intended to help build buzz for “Phillips,” and the size of the run shows Sony’s confidence in the film.

The only other movie opening wide on Oct. 11 is Open Road Films’ R-rated action thriller “Machete Kills.”