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Weekend Box Office: Rogue One Battles Hidden Figures for the Top Spot, Underworld Falters

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By Chris Kavan - 01/08/17 at 07:37 PM CT

It's going to be a nail-biter of a finish for the weekend. While the Star Wars spinoff Rogue One holds a sliver of a lead, don't be surprised if Monday figures push the feel-good true-story Hidden Figures in to the top spot. As it stands, less than $200,000 separate the two films. In other news, Sing continued to do well while the opening of Underworld: Blood Wars was by far the worst opening in the franchise. Weather may have played a factor in the final numbers, but it was a solid opening weekend for January - which is going to get much more interesting next week with six movies either opening or expanding nationwide to make for a very crowded box office ahead of awards season.


For the time being, Rogue One holds a scant $172,000 lead over Hidden Figures, but it still holds the lead. The stand-alone Star Wars film did take a pretty hefty 55.7% hit over the weekend - still, it added nearly $22 million to its total and it crossed the $475 million mark with a new total of $477.2 million. It is a mere $9 million away from topping Finding Dory to become the highest-grossing domestic release of 2016 (a feat it should accomplish by next weekend, even with the competition). Rogue One also debuted in its last foreign market, China, where it opened in first place, but only with $31 million. The film had earned over $914 million worldwide thus far - we'll see if it can hit $500 million domestically and $1 billion worldwide before it checks out. It sits fifth place on the 2016 worldwide list - and Disney now has all five spots on that list. Any way you slice it, this is another home run for the studio.


Giving Rogue One a big run for its money, the true story of three African American women who were instrumental in the early days of NASA but have largely been overlooked by history opened just below Rogue One with $21.8 million. The film jumped 2440% from its limited release opening last weekend and went from 17th of 2nd place in the process. It is sitting on $24.75 million total thus far - which means the film is within a breath of earning back its $25 million budget. The long-term prospects for this one look very good and if it follows a similar path of The Butler, it could very well top $100 million. We'll see how it continues to perform as the awards season heats up, but I wouldn't be surprised if it gets some nominations down the road. The audience was made up of 64% female and 56% over 35 and it earned an "A+" Cinemascore also boding well for its long-term numbers.


The high-octane musical animated family film took a significant 54.4% hit in its third weekend and may have been the biggest victim of the weather. Still, Sing brought in $19.5 million - good enough to raise it over the $200 million mark with a new $213.3 million total. Sing could very well be on its way to a new record - if it can top $241 million it will pass My Big Fat Greek Wedding as the highest-grossing film to never hold the number one spot at the box office - and I would say the chances are pretty much a given at this point. It should have no problem hitting $250 million and, with $143.5 million outside the U.S. it's sitting nicely at $356.8 million worldwide. I fully expect this one to rebound nicely over the extended weekend next week as I don't see much competition giving it too much trouble.


After a somewhat extended absence from theaters, the Underworld franchise tried to re-establish its footing with audiences, but got off to a rocky start with a mere $13.1 million weekend. That is by far the lowest opening for an Underworld film, coming in well behind the $20.8 million of Rise of the Lycans. This is playing less like a typical Underworld film and more like a typical January horror film. Its opening in on par with previous January horror films like The Forest ($12.7 million) and The Woman in Black 2 ($15 million). Still, its budget is well under the previous Underworld films as well ($35 million) and it did earn a respectable weekend multiplier compared to the other films, so it may be able to salvage a win but is probably looking at only $28-$30 million total. Lucky for it, it has already managed to earn $45 million overseas (one of the best for the series) and so it will remain in the black - if only by a hair.


Finally managing to sneak its way in to the top five after five weeks of (mostly limited) release, the awards season darling La La Land fought to a $10 million weekend and a new $51.6 million total. The Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone film has been riding a huge wave of popularity and continues to climb (jumping from 7th to 5th place) adding 765 theaters to its count and increasing 4.7% compared to last weekend. For Lionsgate, this looks like a sure bet to top Boo! A Madea Halloween ($71 million) to become the studios biggest release of 2016. With the Golden Globes and Oscars, this one is sure to stick around as things heat up - so really the skies the limit as adult audiences are sure to continue to support this in the weeks ahead.

Outside the top five: The weekend's other expansion, A Monster Calls, drew come great reviews, but couldn't turn that in to a big audience. The emotional tear-jerker jumped from four to 1523 theaters, increased 9,485.4% but only landed in 13th (up from 47th place) with $2 million. That result has to be seen as disappointing but I wasn't expecting much, either.

In milestone news, Moana managed to sneak past the $225 million mark with a $6.4 million weekend (8th place) and a new $225.3 million total, becoming Disney's fourth-best non-Pixar film of all time.

Next week we get (deep breath) the expansion of Martin Scorcese's Silence in to 750 theaters, along with the expansion of Mark Wahlberg's Patriots Day and Ben Affleck's Live By Night. Openings include the Jamie Foxx action film Sleepless, the horror film The Bye Bye Man and the... something film Monster Trucks. Whew - a lot going on - we'll see if any can capture the nation's attention.


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