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Weekend Box Office: Hidden Figures Tops MLK Weekend, Newcomers Disappoint

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By Chris Kavan - 01/15/17 at 06:52 PM CT

It was a slam dunk for Hidden Figures, which easily took the box office crown over the extended MLK weekend. In fact, almost all the good news was for holdovers, including an important milestone for Rogue One and La La Land's impressive jump following its big Golden Globes wins. Amidst a heavy dose of new and expanding films, almost every one disappointed, with the exception of yet another low-budget, decent-return horror film. I have to say, even I was surprised at some of the low numbers across the board and with another crowded weekend coming up, I think there is going to be plenty more disappointment ahead.


This is the second weekend in a row that Hidden Figures has topped the box office, as it narrowly edged out Rogue One last weekend. It's not at all surprising that the well-received true story stood out over MLK weekend. It dropped a little over 10% to deliver a $20.4 million weekend with a likely $25 million by Monday. That will raise the film's total to $60 million - over twice its $25 million budget. This late-season bloomer has a chance at some serious awards considering the talent involved and the response it has received. Even though it may not have been a huge factor at the Golden Globes, I wouldn't be surprised if it picks up a few more Oscar nominations due to its performance. For Fox Studios, it has already surpassed Assassin's Creed and Why Him? (both stalled out at around the $55 million mark) and will be one of the best 2016 releases for the studio. Even if it doesn't get any big nomination, this one should be sitting pretty at around $100 million by the time it exits theaters.


Obviously capitalizing on the record-setting Golden Globes win, La La Land added another 333 theaters to its count (1848 theaters total) and jumped from 5th to 2nd place (up 43.1%) as audiences showed up in droves to see what all the fuss is about. With a $14.5 million weekend (likely $17 million total including Monday) the awards-season front-runner should wind up with around $80 million total. If Fox is having a good run with Hidden Figures, Lionsgate is having an even better run with this film. In fact, it could very well wind up as one of the biggest films in the studios history - especially as it is expected to expand once more once the Oscars are over. With adults supporting this one, $100 million is expected, though with the legs it has, it could wind up significantly higher. Worldwide, it sits at $132 million - all on a mere $30 million budget.


Just topping Rogue One (we'll see if these two don't swap places, much like Rogue One and Hidden Figures last week) was the animated Sing. The film has been rolling along nicely and took a 33.3% hit from last weekend with a $13.8 million weekend and may top $18 million by Monday. The up-beat musical should stand tall with $236.7 million by Monday, which would mean Sing is going to top Moana at $231.2 million. Worldwide, it has earned $480 million, with a few big territories left. All in all, I think Illumination has to be quite pleased with the results and we'll just have to wait and see if this spawns a great series like Despicable Me has in the long run.


The crowd-pleasing Star Wars spinoff continues to chug along mightily. Entering into its fifth weekend, the film took in $13.75 million over the weekend - also with a likely $17 million four-day run, which will push the film over the $500 million mark. It also officially became the highest-grossing 2016 release, surpassing the $486 million that Finding Dory wound up with. It will become the only 2016 film (and only the seventh film of all time) to hit the $500 million mark and it is also on track to top $1 billion worldwide (currently at $980 million) in the next week or two. I would say between this and the monster result of The Force Awakens that Star Wars is in for a long and profitable run at Disney - as if Marvel and their animation studio wasn't already enough.


While I was fully expecting something like Patriots Day or Sleepless to be the only new (or expanding) film to break in to the top five, it turns out audiences had a craving for horror. The Bye Bye Man is another low-cost ($7.4 million) horror film to break out - earning a respectable $13.3 million for the weekend - and it will more than double its budget come Monday. STX has made a cottage industry out of this kind of film - see also The Gift and The Boy, though they had a miss with The Forest. The film only earned a "C" Cinemascore (still not bad for a horror film, however) and should wind up in the $35-$40 million range depending on if the film can find any support. Even if it falls off quickly (as horror films are wont to do), it has already proven a success - and considering how the rest of the competition wound up - well, let's just say it could have played out very differently.

Outside the top five: Here we find the rest of the pack, at varying degrees of disappointment. Patriots Day fell just short of the top five with a $12 million weekend. Even though it had a huge jump from limited release (30th to 6th place with a 11,350.1% improvement), the result still has to be considered disappointing considering its positive reviews.The good news it the film has a light $45 million budget, but with these results it may not even hit that mark. Maybe the wounds are just too fresh on this one.

Coming in under Patriots Day in 7th place was the messy Monster Trucks. While $10.5 million is actually better than I was expecting, the reported $125 million budget means this is going to be a huge loss for the studio (which already anticipated this considering its $115 million write-off). If the budget had been slashed in half, we might be talking a different story but as it is, this is a bomb no matter how you try to spin things.

Coming in behind Monster Trucks, Jamie Foxx's action film Sleepless landed in 8th with just $8.46 million. I was expecting much more from this, but I guess the action film was just too generic to generate much excitement. It earned a decent "B+" Cinemascore but the $30 million film is likely not going to be able to hit that mark - maybe $25 million but that's about it.

Ben Affleck's Live By Night struggled in limited release and it didn't fare much better with general audiences. It landed in 11th place with $5.42 million. While is was a significant improvement over its 43rd place limited showing, it's not going to turn many head with that kind of response. It also doesn't help this has a $65 million budget. It may not turn out as bad as Monster Trucks, but this is also pretty much a bomb.

The other decent expansion was Martin Scorcese's Silence, but it barely registered landing all the way down in 16th place with $1.94 million. By comparison, Lion played in less theaters (575 compared to 757) and still managed to top it with $2.25 million. Silence has arthouse written all over it - too long and too slow for general audiences, so somehow this result seems pretty much on point.

As if the weekend wasn't already packed enough - we're going for round two. Four new releases next weekend: M. Night Shyamalan's multiple personality film Split, Vin Diesel returns in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, we get to learn about the man behind McDonald's with The Founder, we get a feel-good, faith-based film in The Resurrection of Gavin Stone and, if that wasn't enough, the expansion of the female-driven 20th Century Women. We'll see how bad this bloodbath will be after the disappointing results this weekend.


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