After a neck-and-neck race last weekend, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has officially stepped aside to let Hidden Figures reign supreme. The crowd-pleasing drama about the black female mathematicians who assisted NASA in its early days topped the box office, leading a weekend that was otherwise all about films bursting out of limited release. The bulk of the new releases were not so fortunate.
Eventually, some movie will unseat Rogue One: A Star Wars Story from its spot at the top of the box office charts. That movie will not be Hidden Figures, but man, it sure came close. Unless the final numbers shift ever-so-slightly, the drama about the African American women behind the math that helped launch NASA's first space missions came this close to unseating the massively successful blockbuster, taking the runner-up position by less than $1 million.
The headline here is that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story held onto the number one of the box office top 10 for the third weekend in a row, which was expected. However, the real story is that the past few days made for one of the most impressive weekends of the past year, closing out 2016 (and starting 2017) with a bang.
Everyone knew that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wasn’t going to match the opening weekend of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That film had hype on its side, drawing off the power of a lengthy dry spell for fans and the presence of the original trilogy’s cast members. It’s unlikely that any Star Wars movie will match it ever again. With all of that said, the opening weekend of Rogue One should still be considered an enormous success, especially since these numbers would be nothing short of indisputably incredible if Star Wars wasn’t in the title.
Consider this the calm before the storm. Next weekend, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will open and dominate both the box office and every headline, drowning out each and every other movie currently screening in theaters. In the meantime, Moana took advantage of this quiet window to win one more strong weekend while Office Christmas Party got off to a pretty good start.
Like any new Marvel Studios movie, Doctor Strange was destined to take the number one spot at the box office — it was really just a question of how much it would make. Ultimately, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme surpassed expectations, topping the charts with an exceptional $84 million. But this was a strong weekend in general, with Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge performing well in second and third place.
Don’t let that headline mislead you too much. Tom Cruise is fine. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back also did fine in its opening weekend. But there’s something inherently amusing about one the most recognizable movie stars in the world playing second fiddle to Tyler Perry and his ever-popular creation, Madea. The seasonally appropriate Boo! A Madea Halloween edged out Cruise’s latest sequel at the box office this weekend, contributing to a top 10 where moderately budgeted movies reigned supreme.
Six months ago, this looked like a very different weekend at the box office. While the strong start for The Girl on the Train isn’t surprising, the weak opening for The Birth of a Nation reflects how the film, once seen as a surefire Oscar-contender, has been affected by a series of real world controversies. There’s an alternate timeline out there where it’s a sizable hit. Instead, the adaptation of a popular mystery novel starring Emily Blunt gets its picture at the top of this article.
Despite dominating the box office last week, The Magnificent Seven took a not-insignificant tumble this weekend, slipping to third place and allowing Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and Deepwater Horizon to claim the top two spots. However, both newcomers opened below expectations, making this an odd capper to a September that was otherwise full of surprise hits.
September is traditionally the month of box office quiet after the summer movie season concludes, a chance for studios to unload movies that wouldn’t find their audience elsewhere in the year and an opportunity for everyone to recharge their batteries before the big movies return in October. But nobody told Sully, which is a bigger hit than most of the summer fare released in 2016. And now, nobody told The Magnificent Seven, which leapt into the number one spot with a very strong debut.
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