Weekend Box Office: ‘Hidden Figures’ Tops Quiet Holiday Frame

The North America box office took it on the chin over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Six films went into wide release in an already crowded marketplace, but their impacts ranged from so-so to downright awful. Oversaturation of mediocre product resulted in one of the weakest MLK Jr. holiday frames in recent memory.

In the end, the most popular choices were ones that were already established hits. Fox’s historical drama Hidden Figures is shaping up as 2017’s first $100 million hit. The feel-good hit remained in the number one spot for a second week straight while dropping a mere 10% from the previous frame. Now on 3,286 screens, Hidden Figures has earned a solid $55 million so far. With Oscar nominations just around the corner, the film’s good fortunes should continue throughout this month and well into February.

After sweeping the Golden Globes last Sunday night, Lionsgate’s La La Land continued its winning ways this weekend by moving up from fifth to second place with an estimated $14.5 million from 1,848 theaters. Up 43%, the future Oscar contender has pulled in $74 million after six weeks of release. It should hit the $100 million mark within the next two weeks. Overseas, La La Land has brought in $54 million so far.

Universal’s Sing remained in third place for a second weekend with an estimated $13.8 million from 3,693 theaters. The popular cartoon dipped 33% in its fourth weekend, bringing its overall domestic gross to $233 million so far. Foreign numbers stand at $165 million.

On Friday, Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story displaced Finding Dory to become the biggest domestic release of 2016. For the weekend, Jyn Erso and company was good for $13.76 million from 3,162 theaters. After five weeks, the prequel has pulled in $499 million domestically and $481 million from international markets. Rogue One will cross two milestones within the next week: the $500 million domestic mark on Monday and the billion-dollar global mark shortly after that.

Of the six new films on the scene, only the STX cheapie thriller The Bye Bye Man made any sort of impact, but even that was nothing to write home about. The critically slammed PG-13 horror flick opened on 2,200 screens Friday to earn an estimated $13.3 million.

While negative critical notices have little-to-no impact on a film like The Bye Bye Man, what the ticket buyers say do. They gave the movie a “C” rating on Cinemascore, and the 11% drop in business from Friday-to-Saturday is a sure sign that word-of-mouth is far from kind.

Landing outside the top five was Lionsgate’s Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day. The Mark Whalberg film was expected to perform well in its first weekend of wide release, but the best it could muster from 3,120 screens was an estimated $12 million. Reviews have been solid for Patriots Day, but ticket buyers apparently don’t feel the need to watch something they saw for free on the news endlessly less than four years ago.

If there is one studio that has had a particularly rough time of late, it has been Paramount Pictures. Arrival and Fences aside, 2016 was a year the troubled studio would rather soon forget. The turn of the calendar, however, hasn’t reversed their luck as the studio had not one but two films open this weekend and outright flop.

The first bust was the long-delayed $125 million Monster Trucks, which sputtered with a dismal seventh place opening of $10.5 million from 3,119 theaters. Monster Trucks experienced two years of release date delays before being dumped in the dead of January after becoming a $115 million write-down for the studio last fall. Reviews were downright terrible for the family feature.

Then there is the religious drama Silence, which opened well outside the top ten with a damning $1.9 million from 747 theaters. Unlike Monster Trucks, Silence wasn’t financed by Paramount. In fact, most of its production was independently financed.

Silence was, however, being groomed as Paramount’s best chance this year for Oscar glory. While critics have largely supported the Martin Scorsese passion project, awards groups have not. Without the support of the latter, the film has little to no chance of finding an audience.

Back in the top ten, in eighth place with an $8.4 million gross from 1,803 theaters was the Jamie Foxx action thriller Sleepless. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes savaged the film, a remake of the French thriller Sleepless Night. They bestowed the film with an 11% approval rating, which may or may not have helped sink the film’s box office chances. The awful TV ads and trailers might have helped out a bit as well.

Rounding out the top ten were Underworld: Blood Wars with $5.8 million ($24 million to date) and Passengers with $5.6 million ($90 million to date).

Finally, Warner’s $65 million gangster flick Live By Night expanded from four theaters to 2,822 Friday and then went on to croak in eleventh place with a poor $5.4 million from 2,822 theaters. Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, the studio was hoping Live would become another Argo. Poor reviews and the cold shoulder from awards groups nationwide dictated otherwise. The film marks the first outright flop from Affleck as a director following Gone Baby, Gone, The Town and the aforementioned Oscar winner Argo.

As if next weekend isn’t going to be depressing enough, Friday brings xXx: The Return of Xander Cage into theaters nationwide. xXx 3 is joined by the latest M. Night Shyamalan thriller Split.

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