Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” edged “” in the race for the top spot at the North American box office with an estimated $22 million at 4,175 locations, estimates showed Sunday.
“Hidden Figures,” a well-reviewed comedy-drama about pioneering African-American women in the early days of the American space program, trailed by only $200,000 with $21.8 million at 2,471 sites. So the positions could reverse when final figures for weekend are released Monday.
Snowy weather in the Eastern United States held down overall moviegoing during Friday and Saturday. Box office tracker comScore reported a 15% decline from the year-ago weekend to $135 million.
“Anything that provides a barrier to people getting out of their houses to go to movies is going to hold down business,” noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.
It was the fourth consecutive weekend victory for “Rogue One,” which has lifted its domestic total to $477.3 million in its first 24 days. The eighth “Star Wars” movie is now the eighth-largest domestic grosser of all time, trailing “Finding Dory” by less than $10 million.
“Rogue One” also launched in China with $31 million in its first weekend, pushing the international total to $437 million. Its worldwide box office has hit $914.4 million in less than a month.
Illumination-Universal’s “Sing” was headed for a close third with $19.6 million at 3,955 sites to an impressive $213.3 million in 19 days. Sony’s opening of “Underworld: Blood Wars” is looking at a fourth-place finish with $13.1 million at 3,070 locations, followed by Lionsgate’s expansion of awards contender “La La Land” with $10 million at 1,515 venues.
Sony’s sci-fi romance “Passengers” finished sixth with $8.8 million at 3,400 sites, bringing its total to $80.9 million after three weeks. Fox’s third weekend of romantic comedy “Why Him?” followed with $6.5 million at 2,904 locations for a total of $49 million.
Disney’s seventh weekend of “Moana” came in eighth with $6.4 million at 2,549 venues, pushing its domestic total past $225 million. Denzel Washington’s “Fences” followed with $4.7 million from 2,368 theaters for a domestic total of $40.7 million for Paramount. Washington, who produced, directed and stars in the adaptation of August Wilson’s play, is up for a Golden Globe in the best actor drama category while Viola Davis is nominated for best supporting actress.
Fox’s third weekend of “Assassin’s Creed” remained an underperformer in 10th place with $3.8 million at 2,642 sites. The videogame adaptation is showing respectable traction oversees with $98 million so far, including $45 million this weekend.
“Hidden Figures” is performing well above recent forecasts, which had ranged between $16 million and $18 million. Taraji P. Henson stars as Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who, along with her colleagues Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), helps launch astronaut John Glenn into space.
The awards-season contender has a modest $25 million budget. Spencer is up for a Golden Globe in the supporting actress category on Sunday along with a SAG Award. The ensemble cast has also been nominated for a SAG Award.
Female customers dominated “Hidden Figures” business, comprising 64% of the audience. Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson noted that “Hidden Figures” generated an A+ CinemaScore in all categories.
“That’s extremely rare to see,” he added. “With stellar exit polls, better weather, and a holiday weekend ahead, look for ‘Hidden Figures’ to be a factor at the domestic box office for weeks and weeks to come. It stands apart from the rest of the marketplace in that it’s so uplifting.”
Dergarabedian credited Fox with an astute marketing campaign for “Hidden Figures,” starting with a 25-site launch on Christmas, which generated $2.8 million prior to this weekend’s expansion. “It’s a picture-perfect example of how to build awareness of a story that everyone can get behind,” he added.
Focus Features’ drama “A Monster Calls,” which has received solid reviews with an 86% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, received little support with only $2 million at 1,523 screens in an expansion from four sites.
Liosngate/CBS Films’ “Patriots Day” remained a solid performer with $105,000 at seven sites, lifting its total to $870,414 after three weeks in platform release. A24’s “20th Century Women,” which is up for Golden Globes in the Best Picture musical/comedy category and Best Actress for Annette Bening, generated $142,824 at 10 locations for a two-week total of $395,412.
Paramount’s expansion of Martin Scorsese’s historical drama “Silence” took in $480,000 at 51 screens after two weeks at four locations. Its total has hit $862,000.