Maybe 2017 isn’t going to be so bad after all.
While we’ve been recovering from the sequined exhaustion that is the Golden Globes in the form of Twitter hot takes, trying to figure out how Hidden Fences could even happen, and an overload of Meryl Streep GIFs, something extraordinary happened. It was actually happening quietly all weekend but was just confirmed via The Hollywood Reporter a couple of hours ago:
Hidden Figures beat out Rogue One at the box office this past weekend, bringing in a total of $22.8M. Let’s all put away our Meryl GIFs for a moment and get this one trending:
Early box office reports on Sunday had the two films neck and neck, with Rogue One pulling ahead by just shy of $200,000. That in itself is an incredible feat because Rogue One is, you know, Rogue One and Hidden Figures is about math and doesn’t have a snarky robot voiced by Alan Tudyk. Even more incredible is when you closely compare the early box office numbers:
Hidden Figures expanded from an initial 25-theater release to appearing on 2,471 screens and grossed $21,800,000.
Rogue One didn’t add any additional theaters to its 4,157 run and grossed $21,972,000.
We can also assume that at least some of those Rogue One sales were more expensive elevated tickets (IMAX and 3D), which Hidden Figures doesn’t have (not that we all wouldn’t be first in line to see Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe in 3D, of course). So, do some quick calculations… carry the one, subtract seven, find the square root, and you know what that equals? Way more people packed into way fewer screens to enjoy Hidden Figures.
This is big for a lot of reasons and not just because something beat out a Star Wars film. It’s big because the number one movie this weekend stars three black women and is a biopic about NASA and tackles math, sexism, and racism. That, itself, deserves attention and praise.
In making the case for Hidden Figures as a serious awards contender, our our Tomris Laffly said, “it has the courage of tackling its themes around racism and sexism head on (despite Kevin Costner’s memorable scenes, this is not a “white savior” film) and manages to exuberantly connect with the audiences at an honest emotional level.”
And in her review, Jamie Righetti explained, “it is also a timely reminder that Black women are a vital and substantial part of the backbone of America, and their achievements have time and time again helped us accomplish the impossible as a nation.”
Despite actual evidence that proves otherwise, there’s this nasty thought infesting the industry that women-fronted films don’t sell, let alone movies fronted by WOC. Yet, here we are, with the two of the biggest films in the country fronted by women (Oh, yeah, because in case you forgot Rogue One is a female-fronted action blockbuster). It would be nice to think that maybe this will be it. Finally! We’ve done it. We’ve really proven that women can star in blockbusters and biopics and everything in between…
Ha! Sure. Instead of either laughing hysterically or sobbing uncontrollably at that thought, distract yourself with this absolute gem of an Instagram post from Henson expressing her thanks and excitement. And if you haven’t gone out to see Hidden Figures yet (or even if you have!) see it this weekend and help keep it at the top of the box office.