LOS ANGELES — The new movie “Hidden Figures” tells the uplifting true story of a trio of women who defied expectations as they helped the U.S. space program.
Now the tale is also beating the odds at the box office.
The Oscar hopeful surpassed industry projections in its wide-release debut over the weekend, collecting $21.8 million in ticket sales Friday through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates. If Sunday estimates hold, “Hidden Figures” will nab a very close second-place finish behind “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” at the domestic box office over the weekend, beating fellow newcomer “Underworld: Blood Wars.”
“Rogue One” had the slight edge on “Hidden Figures,” scoring its fourth consecutive No. 1 weekend with nearly $22 million in the U.S. and Canada Friday through Sunday. Estimates could change Monday, so “Hidden Figures” still has a chance to come out ahead.
The latest blockbuster in Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” franchise has now grossed $477 million in the domestic marketplace, meaning it will soon pass Disney’s “Finding Dory” as the highest-grossing film of 2016. Its worldwide tally stands at $914 million.
Notably, “Rogue One” opened in Chinese theaters on Friday, and has grossed $31 million there so far. Although that’s a big number, and good enough to place it at No. 1 in the key market, it’s 39 percent less than the opening weekend for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
In third place domestically was “Sing,” the cartoon animal musical from Universal Pictures and its in-house animation partner Illumination Entertainment. The movie danced its way to $19.6 million in the U.S. and Canada in its third weekend in theaters, bringing its domestic total to $213 million. It cost $75 million to make.
Meanwhile, horror-action sequel “Underworld: Blood Wars” came in shy of industry expectations, grossing $13.1 million domestically and landing at No. 4. Starring franchise stalwart Kate Beckinsale, “Blood Wars” is the fifth film in the series about a centuries-long conflict between vampires and werewolves, and the franchise appears to be showing its age with U.S. audiences. The 2012 entry “Underworld Awakening” earned $25 million in its initial weekend.
“La La Land,” Lionsgate’s Golden Globes winner continued to pick up the tempo as the Emma Stone-Ryan Gosling musical expanded on Golden Globes weekend to 1,500 theaters. The critical darling, directed by Damien Chazelle, earned $10 million, taking a fifth-place finish. The box-office haul for “La La Land” has now reached $51.6 million.
Far less impressive was the wide debut of “A Monster Calls,” the new indie fantasy film from acclaimed director J.A. Bayona.
The $43 million movie, about a child who copes with his mother’s terminal illness by befriending a tree-monster (voiced by Liam Neeson), grossed $2 million Friday through Sunday. Focus Features handled the American release of the well-reviewed picture, which has been a hit in Bayona’s native Spain.