Rogue One Squeaks Out a Win over Hidden Figures
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
January 8, 2017
The end of the holiday season might have diminished the box office returns, but they didn’t stop the intrigue. 2017 is exactly eight days old, and it might have already seen the closest box office race of the entire year. In the end, only $172,000 differentiates first and second place this weekend, meaning that actuals might flip the winner of the weekend for a change. For right now, the belief is that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has become a four-time box office champion. Probably.
What’s left to be said about our number one film this weekend? With a weekend total of $22 million, Rogue One unlocked another box office achievement. With $473 million in domestic earnings, it surpassed Star Wars, a title that earned almost $460 million during its multiple releases, to become the second most popular Star Wars title to date. Given that Rogue One isn’t even a part of the main storyline, that’s a monumental accomplishment for director Gareth Edwards and his team.
Rogue One is also only a few days away from usurping Finding Dory’s current status as the number one domestic release of the year. Finally, Rogue One is also within striking distance of becoming the fifth 2016 release to earn more than a billion dollars worldwide. Its current tally is $914 million. Rogue One would need another $240 million to earn the status of number one overall release of 2016. Captain America: Civil War is the current leader with $1.15 billion. Stating the obvious, for the second straight year, the Star Wars franchise has absolutely eviscerated the box office realm.
The problem with box office estimates is that movie distributors are incentivized to lie. Few mainstream consumers pay any attention to actuals when they come out on Monday afternoon, whereas the weekend box office estimates get quoted like sports scores on Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. I say all of this to note that Hidden Figures allegedly finished in second place this weekend with $21.8 million.
If nothing else, this film can claim that it was the first title to knock Rogue One out of first place, at least for a day. On Friday, it grossed $7.6 million, more than $1.5 million ahead of Star Wars 0 (Star Wars 3.5?). The Saturday and Sunday estimates for Hidden Figures were modest bordering on too conservative, an admirable choice by Fox. Ultimately, it costs the movie the bragging rights of ending Rogue One’s three weekend box office winning streak, at least until actuals come in. The reality is that Disney’s unlikely to cede the title with actuals, so results will probably hold, casting another light on the shady nature of box office weekend estimates.
Independent of what happens next, Hidden Figures is triumphant as a movie release. Its $21.8 million in wide release (2,471 playdates) brings its running total up to $24.8 million. This is a perfect time to mention that the production budget for Hidden Figures was $25 million. So, yeah. This film is going to be a huge winner. Its box office also elevates its awards season candidacy, and that’s important since Hidden Figures earned the holy grail of Cinemascores, an A+. The average movie with that grade earns roughly a factor of five more than its opening weekend. Hidden Figures is also 93% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, 97% among top critics. In other words, if you haven’t seen Hidden Figures yet, you should. 2016 didn’t feature a lot of perfect projects, a term BOP uses to describe high-quality titles that are also box office winners. 2017 already claims one with Hidden Figures. Run, don’t walk, to see it.