Box Office: Oscar Hopefuls ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘La La Land’ Dominate MLK Weekend

Hidden Figures
Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae, left), Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) and Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) celebrate their stunning achievements in one of the greatest operations in history. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

(JANUARY 13 – JANUARY 15, 2017 estimates)

  1. “Hidden Figures” (Week 4) – $20,450,000
  2. “La La Land” (Week 6) – $14,500,000
  3. “Sing” (Week 4) – $13,810,970
  4. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (Week 5) – $13,759,000
  5. “The Bye Bye Man” (Opening) – $13,378,000
  6. “Patriots Day” (Week 4) – $12,000,000
  7. “Monster Trucks” (Opening) – $10,500,000
  8. “Sleepless” (Opening) – $8,468,787
  9. “Underworld: Blood Wars” (Week 2) – $5,815,000
  10. “Passengers” (Week 4) – $5,625,000

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  • After a narrow victory last week, “Hidden Figures” easily topped the box office for the second weekend in a row. The film dropped a very scant 10 percent after adding an additional 815 theaters. It seems this late breaking Oscar contender is resonating very much with the public at large. After two weeks in limited release and two weeks in wide release, the film has grossed $54 million. This is already more than double the $25 million production budget of the film. Its gross is not quite at the level of “The Help,” but is tracking better than “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” This ensures the film will be able to cross the $100 million mark domestically.
  • La La Land soundtrackAfter setting the record for Golden Globe wins, “La La Land experienced a huge bump. After adding 333 theaters, the film’s weekend total rose 43 percent, propelling it to number two at the box office. Despite never having played in more than 2,000 theaters, the film has amassed a domestic total of $74 million. When foreign grosses are factored in, the worldwide total for the film stands at $128 million. This is a remarkable sum for the $30 million budgeted film. Compared to other Oscar favorites, “La La Land” is performing closest to eventual Best Picture winner “The King’s Speech.” That film went on to gross $138 million domestically, and it is easy to see “La La Land” surpassing $150 million.
  • The animated film “Sing” continued its strong performance since Christmas. Losing only a third of its business in its fourth weekend, the film’s domestic total rose to $233 million. Factoring in foreign grosses, the film’s worldwide total stands at a fantastic $397 million. At this rate, the film will be able to surpass Illumination Entertainment’s first film “Despicable Me” domestically ($251 million). However, it will be hard to reach that film’s worldwide total of $543 million.
  • On Friday, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” surpassed “Finding Dory,” another Disney title, to be the top grossing film of 2016. After dropping 37 percent from last week, the film pushed itself to the precipice of the $500 million mark. It currently stands at $498 million domestically and $979 million worldwide. By next week, the film should become the second Star Wars film in history to pass the billion dollar mark worldwide. Currently the film is the seventh highest grossing film of all time domestically. Only time will tell if it can surpass “The Dark Knight” at $534 million to rise to number six.
  • The best performing new release this weekend was the horror film “The Bye Bye Man.” With an opening of $13 million, the film was above past January horror films such as “The Forest” and “The Boy.” Many horror films don’t experience much longevity at the January box office. That said, the film should expect to make $30 million by the end of its domestic run.
  • After three successful weekends in seven theaters, the Boston Marathon bombing film “Patriots Day” expanded to 3,120 theaters. The film received more mixed results at the box office, however. This marks the lowest grossing opening weekend for a Peter Berg film since his first film “Very Bad Things” in 1998. However, its $45 million budget is much more manageable than the $120 million price tag attached to “Deepwater Horizon” earlier in the year. Still, it will be hard for the film to approach that box office level, despite good reviews.
  • It only took two weekends for us to have the first epic bomb of 2017. Paramount already had to take off a $115 million write down for “Monster Trucks.” That proved to be fortuitous, as the $125 million budgeted project opened to a mere $10 million. While this is better than last year’s family failure “Norm of the North,” it is hard to imagine the film doing more than $30 million domestically.
  • Things did not fare much better for “Sleepless,” the latest Jamie Foxx vehicle. The crime drama grossed a mere $8 million on its opening weekend. Against a $30 million budget, the film will not be able to break even. It will be tough for it to even break $20 million domestically. Among similar early release bombs, this did fare better than “Triple 9,” “Gunman” and “Parker.”
  • Things are not looking up for last week’s sole new release, “Underworld: Blood Wars.” The fifth film in the supernatural action series plummeted 57 percent in its second weekend. That is the steepest drop of the entire top 10 this weekend. The film’s total has risen to $23 million, which is still a good bit behind its $35 million budget. While the film is by far the lowest grossing of the franchise domestically, it is saving face overseas. To date, the film has grossed $70 million worldwide.
  • Rounding out the top 10 is the star-studded science fiction romance “Passengers.” The film eased 36 percent to bring its domestic total to $90 million. Initially thought of as a failure, the film has quietly built itself up to possibly pass the $100 million mark domestically. The $110 million budget is concerning. However, once overseas grosses are factored in, the worldwide total stands at a strong $237 million. Even if the film didn’t set the world on fire in the manner Sony was hoping for, it still showed some strong performance.

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  • Live by NightA wide expansion was not kind to Ben Affleck’s latest directorial film “Live by Night.” After not quite finding an audience in limited release over the past three weeks, the film floundered when released in 2,822 theaters. Grossing $5.4 million this weekend, the film wound up just outside of the top 10. Its opening led to an incredibly poor $1,922 per-theater average. There doesn’t seem to be much shelf life for the gangster film. In fact, this is the worst performing opening for a Ben Affleck-directed film, even below the more modest “Gone Baby Gone.”
  • Even the great Martin Scorsese experienced an off-character miss. After expanding wide to 747 theaters, “Silence” wasn’t able to find an audience with the public at large. The film grossed a mere $1.9 million, for a per-theater average of $2,597. Not even the names of stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson could coax viewers into the nearly three hour epic of Jesuit priests in Japan. Since the new millennium, Martin Scorsese has not had a narrative film gross less than $70 million domestically. Currently at $3 million domestic, it seems “Silence” will break that trend.

What did you see over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend? Share in the comments.