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Empowered women and outer space dominated the North American box office over the weekend as Theodore Melfi’s biographical drama Hidden Figures orbited past Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to win the race with $22.8 million from 2,471 theaters as it expanded nationwide, versus $22.1 million for Rogue One in its fourth weekend from 4,157 locations.
Sunday morning estimates had showed the two films all but tying for the No. 1 spot with roughly $22 million each, but Hidden Figures did more business than expected throughout the day. (Most rival studios showed Hidden Figures narrowly beating Rogue One all along. The stand-alone Star Wars story is hardly a slouch, though, having stayed atop the chart for three consecutive weekends.)
Nabbing a coveted A+ CinemaScore, Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae as the real-life African-American mathematicians who helped NASA put the first men into space even while having to endure a segregated workplace. Their story, however, had been obscured for decades.
Hidden Figures played to a diverse audience; 43 percent of ticket buyers were Caucasian and 37 percent African-American. The pic overindexed in every part of the country save for the Rocky Mountain states. Like other movies over the weekend, Hidden Figures was impacted by a major winter storm in the Deep South and Northeast, but box-office observers don’t believe the damage was too great, even with some theater closures on Friday and Saturday. Females made up 64 percent of Hidden Figures‘ audience, while 56 percent of all ticket buyers were 35 or older.
“It is a film for everyone regardless of age, gender or race, and effectively illustrates the power of the human mind and spirit,” said Fox domestic distribution president Chris Aronson. “In these challenging times, its life-affirming message comes along at a perfect time.”
From Fox 2000 and Chernin Entertainment, Hidden Figures first opened in select theaters on Christmas Day and has earned a total of $24.7 million to date against a $25 million budget. It opted to expand nationwide on the eve of Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony, where Spencer was nominated for best supporting actress.
Henson and Monae Instagrammed a photo of The Hollywood Reporter‘s tweet about their film topping the box office (see below). In Henson’s caption, the Empire star said the box-office success came in spite of people telling her that “Black women can’t open films domestically or internationally.”
Rogue One, the stand-alone Star Wars movie starring Felicity Jones, has now earned a massive $477.3 million domestically and is virtually guaranteed of crossing the $500 million mark. The pic easily won the foreign weekend race with $56.6 million, including a China bow of $31 million, for a offshore total of $437.1 million and global tally of $914.4 million.
Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s animated tentpole Sing wasn’t far behind Rogue One and Hidden Figures in North America, grossing $20.7 million from 3,955 theaters as it zoomed past the $200 million mark domestically. Overseas, the family hit took in $26.4 million from 61 territories for a global cume north of $260 million, including $213.4 million in North America.
Screen Gems’ Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth installment in the vampire hunter series, followed at No. 4 with an underwhelming launch of $13.7 million from 3,070 theaters. Directed by Anna Foerster and starring Kate Beckinsale and Theo James, the film earned a B+ CinemaScore.
Costing a net $35 million to make, Blood Wars is faring better overseas, where it has earned $45 million to date with numerous major markets still to open. “We were very thoughtful in the production costs of the film and the picture has been built for the world,” said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer.
Rounding out the top five in North America was Lionsgate’s La La Land, which took home a record seven Golden Globes, the most of any film. Upping its theater count from 750 to 1,515 theaters, the musical earned another $10 million for a strong domestic total of $51.7 million and early global cume of $86 million, including $19.5 million in South Korea.
Sony’s sci-fi space romance Passengers, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, fell to No. 8 in its third weekend, earning $8.8 million from 3,400 locations for a domestic total of $80.9 million and estimated worldwide tally of $185 million (it doesn’t open in China until next weekend).
Among prestige titles competing in the awards race, Denzel Washington’s Fences placed No. 9 with $4.7 million from 2,368 theaters for a domestic total of $40.7 million. Washington directed and stars in the Paramount stage adaptation and was nominated for a Golden Globe in the best actor in a motion picture — drama category. Co-star Viola Davis won for best supporting actress.
A number of award hopefuls are still only playing in select markets, including CBS Films and Liongate’s Patriots Day, which scored the top location average of the weekend ($15,000, seven theaters). Golden Globe best picture nominee 20th Century Women ($14,282, 10 theaters), Toni Erdmann ($11,579, three theaters) and Paterson ($10,038, 10 theaters) followed, while Martin Scorsese’s Silence posted a pleasing location average of $9,412 as it expanded into a total of 51 theaters.
#GodIs I have been told my entire career “Black women can’t open films domestically or internationally”. Well anything is possible. Most importantly this proves that PEOPLE LIKE GOOD MATERIAL. HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GENDER OR RACE. Agreed?! Thank you to everyone who supported this weekend even during the snow storm (which btw affected some of our biggest demographics). AND WE WERE IN FEWER THEATERS!!! What a proud moment!!! #HiddenFigures P.S. telling me what I can’t do only makes me focus on proving nay Sayers WRONG!!!
A photo posted by taraji p henson (@tarajiphenson) on
THE FORCE WAS WITH US. It took over 50 years to tell the story of these 3 brilliant African American female protagonists. Without the research of @margotleeshetterly these women would still be hidden. This weekend we only had 2,471 theaters, while Rogue One’ had 4,157 locations. We had snow storms that caused east coast region theaters to close, but #HIDDENFENCES still managed to win the race! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO BOUGHT A TICKET, BROUGHT YOUR FAMILY/FRIENDS, TOLD A FRIEND, POSTED ON SM, prayed for this film, etc. WE ARE Forever forever THANKFUL. WE DID THIS TOGETHER! Mary, Katherine, Dorothy and all the colored and human computers at NASA who took America to space are HIDDEN NO MORE. WE WILL NOT BE ERASED. #hiddenfigures#starwars #rogueone Side note: I think it’s awesome that two movies about space were dueling it out. Y’all know I’m a space Sci fi geek for life .
A photo posted by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on
Weekend Box Office 1/8/17
|1. Hidden Figures||$22.8M||$25.6M||2,471||3|
|2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||$22.1M||$477.4M||4,157||4|
|3. Sing (2016)||$20.7M||$214.5M||3,955||3|
|4. Underworld: Blood Wars||$13.7M||$13.7M||3,070||1|
|5. La La Land||$10.1M||$51.8M||1,515||5|
|7. Why Him?||$6.9M||$49.0M||2,904||3|
|10. Assassin’s Creed||$4.2M||$49.9M||2,642||3|
Jan. 9, 7:30 a.m. Updated with final weekend numbers.
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