4th Writethru Saturday AM: Expanding from 25 theaters to 2,471, 20th Century Fox/Chernin’s Hidden Figures is blasting off to between $21M+ after winning Friday with around $7.6M.

Right now Hidden Figures is off to a great start as the Ted Melfi-directed feature about the African American mathematicians behind astronaut John Glenn’s NASA launch also earned an A+ CinemaScore — a rare grade that few (if any) major studio titles earned last year. And it got an A+ with both male and females and every age group, which is extremely rare.

Actually Sony’s Miracles From Heaven earned an A+, but faith-based pics always have it easier than the average major studio release as their core demographic turns up in full on opening night. In regards to the last major studio titles earning A+s, Warner Bros.’ American Sniper and Paramount’s Selma grabbed those grades two years ago. In addition to Selma, The Help was another African American movie which also earned an A+.

The Help cranked out a 6.5 multiple off its opening for a final cume of $169.7M, while Selma saw a 4.6 off its $11M wide break for a final $52M stateside. On average, A+ CinemaScores generate a 4.8 multiple. Also helping Hidden Figures is its Rotten Tomatoes score of 92% fresh. It still has the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday coming up so the legs for this movie should be strong.

“The film is crossing over,” asserts one observer, while another adds “What Fox did was unprecedented. Hidden Figures jumped from 25 screens in 15 cities and that was a very risky move. If it didn’t catch, they would have been screwed. But they took the risk and it’s paid off.”

Jamie Foxx has Sleepless opening against Hidden Figures next weekend, and he’s so amazed by Melfi’s movie, he’s even telling people to go see it:



Rogue One‘s grip on No. 1 is slight right now with anywhere currently $200K ahead of  Sing, $22.9M to $22.7M. There’s a chance that the Illumination/Universal title might pass it, which wasn’t expected going into the weekend, although one studio analyst called it close. Hidden Figures is currently looking at third place — that is unless, Hidden Figures‘ Sunday turns out to be stronger. Fox did implement an outreach to the faith-based for the movie and that crowd typically shows up following church services (televangelist Joel Osteen is telling his flock to go see the movie).

Illumination/Universal’s singing animal jukebox movie obviously has the sway over matinees and could see its estimated $5.2M Friday surge by 100% on Saturday. It’s also expected to ease less than Hidden Figures, -35% to -40%.

Meanwhile, Sony/Screen Gems’ fifthquel Underworld: Blood Wars is coming in at the low end of expectations with slight more than $13M, which marks the first time this vampire hunter-Lycan feud movie has dropped below $20M in its weekend opening.

In the wake of #OscarsSoWhite last year, Hidden Figures joins a resurgence of African American features this awards season including A24’s Moonlight ($13M+ by Sunday), Focus Features’ Loving ($7.5M) and Paramount’s Fences ($40.5M). Rather than watch this film get lost during the fall season, Fox held onto it until all the noise calmed down after Rogue One, much like they did with The Revenant last year post Force Awakens.

hidden figures flotus screening

That said, Fox began stoking the awards season flames at the Toronto International Film Festival in September where they revealed 30 minutes of footage, and held a concert where Pharrell Williams performed some of his original songs from the movie.

Two huge components in Hidden Figures’ marketing campaign: The White House and NASA.

In endorsing the movie, the space org’s head administrator Charles Bolden was involved in organizing screenings for both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama held a STEM student event and screening which was streamed via Facebook Live & WhiteHouse.gov website on Dec. 15. United States chief technology officer Megan Smith, also a champion of the movie, also hosted “Hidden Figures in Space Exploration” at the White House Screening event with the First Lady. Dr Knatokie Ford, director of the White House Office of STEM visited the set, and championed the film through release. In addition, Hidden Figures had the White House’s social support across all channels.

Michelle Obama


With NASA, there was an International Space Station screening of Hidden Figures, a Langley 100th Anniversary event with Katherine Johnson, now 98, who Taraji P. Henson portrays in the movie. A John Glenn Launch pad event for the film at the Kennedy Space Center drew 100M impressions on Facebook Live. In addition, NASA pushed out exclusive content, programs guides and social support for the movie.


Sony obviously made the big play overseas with Underworld: Blood Wars, where it has already logged $45M+ in advance of this weekend’s U.S./Canada debut.  Estimated P&A is around $50M for this $35M production. Screen Gems tried to keep this installment as cheap as they could and sliced the budget from Awakening‘s $70M to an estimated $35M on this one. The previous installment, 2012’s Awakening made the most at $160M worldwide and $62.32M domestic.  It’s not like Sony really did anything dramatic here with the marketing in terms of expanding beyond the franchise’s core audience: The TV spots were all wash, rinse, repeat: Kate Beckinsale in leather with flying fists and bullets. The difference this time? It’s hinted that her character’s daughter is a potential casualty. But given the near 50% drop in Blood Wars’ domestic opening from Awakening, audiences know it’s all same old, same old. In three weeks, the same genre crowd that’s watching Blood Wars will head to Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Stateside that doesn’t do any favors for Blood Wars, but again, it’s foreign that’s driving the charge on these dusty genre franchises. Final Chapter has already become the highest grossing Resident Evil in Japan with $25M-plus. Blood Wars gets a B+ CinemaScore which is line with three other Underworlds, but is down from Awakening’s A-.

La La Land.jpeg


During a Golden Globes weekend where its ablaze with seven nominations including best comedy/musical, Lionsgate/Summit’s La La Land is projected to see $10.3M in fifth place — up 8% over last weekend’s New Year’s frame– as it expands from 750 to 1,515 sites. Cume by Golden Globes night will be close to $52M.

Sony/Village Roadshow/LStar/Wanda’s pricey Passengers falls to sixth with $8.45M in its third FSS, -48%, for a running estimated cume by the end of the weekend of $80.1M.

Focus Features also expanded its J.A. Bayona-directed weepy A Monster Calls from four New York and Los Angeles auditoriums to 1,523 theaters. It’s wounded with close to a $2M. Something is amiss here though: Friday moviegoers are giving it an A CinemaScore, and critics didn’t exactly kill this beast with an 87% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Lack of kudo recognition here could be preventing it from crossing over.

Andrew Garfield, Yosuke Kubozuka - Silence.jpeg

Kerry Brown

Top per theaters among specialty fare include CBS/Lionsgate’s Patriots Day with $17K+, Annapurna/A24’s 20th Century Women at $13K+ and Paramount’s limited expansion of Martin Scorsese’s Silence with $10,1K.

Anita Busch contributed to this report

Estimated weekend B.O. as of Saturday AM from industry estimates for the period of Jan. 6-8, Golden Globes weekend:

1.) Rogue One  (DIS), 4,157 theaters  (0)/$6M Fri. (-67%) / 3-day cume: $22.9M (-54%)/Total: $478.2M/Wk 4

2.) Sing (UNI), 3,955 theaters (-74)  /$5.2M Fri. (-69%) / 3-day cume: $22.7M (-47%)/Total: $216.5M/Wk 3

3.) Hidden Figures (Fox) 2,471 theaters (+2,446)/$7.6M Fri (+2694%)/3-day: $21.04M (+2352%)/Total: $23.5M/Wk 3

4.) Underworld: Blood Wars (Sony) 3,070 theaters/$4.8M Fri/3-day: $13.1M /Wk 1

5.) La La Land (Lionsgate) 1,515 (+765) /$3.1M Fri (-5%) /3-day:$10.3M (+8%)/Total:$52M/ Wk 5

6.) Passengers  (SONY/VR), 3,400 theaters (-78)  /$2.65M Fri (-53%) /3-day: $8.45M (-48%)/Total: $80.5M/Wk 3

7.) Moana  (DIS), 2,549 Theaters (-226) / $1.6M (-63%) Fri. /3-day: $7.6M (-31%)/Total: $226.6M/Wk 7

8.) Why Him?  (FOX), 2,904 theaters (-104)  /$2.1M Fri (-36%) / 3-day:$6.6M (-34%)/Total: $48.7M/Wk 3

9.) Fences (PAR) 2,368 theaters (+67) /$1.39M (-62%) Fri/3-day:$4.6M (-56%)/Total:$40.5M/Wk 4

10.) Assassin’s Creed  (FOX), 2,642 theaters (-354)  /$1.1M Fri. (-65%)/3-day:$3.8M (-56%)/Total: $49.5M/Wk 3

11.).Manchester by the Sea (RSA/AMZ) 1,054 theaters  (-152)/$740K (-46%) Fri  /3-day: $2.48M (-41%)/Total: $33.8M/Wk 8


Greta Gerwig - 20th Century Women.jpeg


A Monster Calls  (FOC), 1,523 theaters (+1,519)  /$659K Fri. (+10883%)/3-day:$1.96M (+9233%)/Total:$2.1M/Wk 3

Silence  (PAR), 51 theaters (+47)  /$162,5k Fri. (+523%) /3-day:$520K (+527%)/PTA: $10,1k/Total: $901,5K/ Wk 3

20th Century Women (AP/A24) 10 theaters  (+6) /$40K Fri (+3%)/3-day: $133K (+20%)/PTA: $13,3K/Total: $386K/Wk 2

Patriot’s Day  (CBS/LG), 7 theaters  /$38k Fri (-22%)/3-day: $122K (-17%)/PTA: $17,4K/Total: $887k/Wk 3

Paterson (BLR/AMZ) 7 theaters (+3)/$20K Fri (-13%)/3-day: $69K (even)/Total: $221K

Live by Night  (WB), 4 theaters  /$8k Fri. (-27%)  /3-day:$28k (-22%)/Total: $169,5K/ Wk 3


1st update, 7:39AM: 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s Hidden Figuresone of two wide releases this weekend, collected $1.2 million from Thursday night previews at 2,250 locations. The movie, directed by Ted Melfi, expands to 2,471 theaters after playing at 25 sites since Christmas Day. Pic’s running cume now stands at $4.1M. Last night’s ticket sales will be rolled into Friday’s opening number.

That’s a very good start for Hidden Figures when compared to such the preview cash for Selma ($400K) and Lee Daniels’ The…

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