In Sunday’s box-office report, the race for the top spot for the weekend was too close to call based on unofficial numbers. Studio estimates went back and forth all day between Rogue One and Hidden Figures, which expanded into 2400 theaters over the weekend and became a surprising challenger to the Star Wars stand-alone film. By midday yesterday, the average of studio estimates had Hidden Figures on top by roughly $60,000 for the entire weekend. However, official box-office estimates still had Rogue One leading by nearly $200K.
The official weekend numbers are now in, and Hidden Figures ultimately performed better on Sunday than the studios had estimated. In fact, the film is coming in with $22.8 million compared to the final numbers for Rogue One, $21.9 million. Hidden Figures managed to outgross Rogue One despite being in 1700 fewer theaters thanks to tremendous word of mouth (the film received a rare A+ from Cinemascore) and female moviegoers, who accounted for 64 percent of the audience, according to Variety.
Expectations for Hidden Figures were in the $16-$18 million range, but the movie has been trouncing its other limited-release competition since Christmas, averaging more per screen than Martin Scorsese’s Silence, Mark Wahlberg’s The Patriot and Ben Affleck’s Live by Night. It appears to be another instance where box-office prognosticators underestimated the drawing power of films with a majority black cast. This is not unusual for box-office predictions. Straight Outta Compton, The Perfect Guy, The Best Man Holiday, Ride Along, and Think Like a Man, among others, all outperformed box-office expectations, much to the surprise of box-office prediction experts.