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The Appearance Of Hidden Figures – And Other Movie News

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Box Office Brasserie – Movie News For Movie Lovers

3, 2, 1… Blast-off

After taking a monumental step backwards in terms of cultural and political evolution, 2017 in North America will have to fight the “old white man” power and attempt to (re)learn from the past.

No better place to start than Fox’s “Hidden Figures,” which features a group of African American women in the late-1950s and early-1960s who helped launch America’s first man into space.

In limited release over the last two weekends, the family-friendly drama has racked up $2.6M in just 25 theaters, averaging over $20k per the first weekend and $34k per last weekend.

Those types of grosses have Fox over the moon and hoping for big things for the relatively inexpensive $25M film, which should see multiple demographics buying tickets for the feel good film from writer/director Theodore Melfi (“St. Vincent”).

If a Tyler Perry film like “Boo!” can debut with $28M, $20M+ should be easily attainable, and likely a third place finish behind the box office behemoths “Rogue One” and “Sing,” which have ruled the box office over the holidays.

Still, there is an outside chance that box office estimators missed the boat on this one, as African American dominated films are notoriously difficult to track accurately. So don’t be too surprised if “Hidden Figures” comes out of the shadows and pops up as  #1.

Also in the mix is Sony’s fifth “Underworld” film, “Blood Wars.” Interestingly, none of the previous efforts have debuted with less than $20M, although at some point franchise fatigue has to set in, right? Perhaps.

The last in the series, 2012’s “Awakening,” was actually the top grossing film of the franchise, slaying $62M domestic and $160M worldwide. The budget on that film was $70M, so the margin of profit wasn’t huge. Sony wisely trimmed it down to $35M for “Blood Wars,” which has already grossed $42M overseas.

Ratcheting up in 3,000+ theaters, the R-rated, 3D thriller should be able to sang $17M+, but again, don’t be shocked to see $20M. Kate Beckinsale in tight leather (or are they rubber?) pants is national holiday for many fanboys.

Expanding into wide release is Focus Features’ “A Monster Calls.” J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible,” “The Orphanage”) directs what will ultimately become a cult classic; however, its shockingly low per theater averages in limited release over the last couple weeks portend a massive misfire, at least domestically.

In 1,500+ venues, the $40M, PG-13 children’s book adaptation will probably scare up around $3M. Shame, as it deserves much, much better. However, this kind of classical, thought-provoking tale just isn’t family friendly these days as even Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” was a tough sell.   Parents with small children are more apt to take them to the latest Marvel or Star Wars movie.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. Sing – $26M
  2. Hidden Figures – $25M
  3. Star Wars: Rogue One – $24M
  4. Underworld: Blood Wars – $16M
  5. La La Land – $12M

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STREAMING KEEP OF THE WEEK: HBO’s “Bright Lights”

The one-two gut punch of losing Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds to stardust, days apart, was, frankly, just too much to take over the holiday season. Luckily, HBO was already planning to showcase their unique relationship in the documentary “Bright Lights.”

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STREAMING HEAP OF THE WEEK: CW’s “Riverdale” (January 26, 2017)

Remember how cute Betty and Veronica were when they were fighting over Archie all the time while shopping? Remember Archie and his squeaky clean, bubble gum hijinks? Remember Jughead and how much of a dunderhead he was? Forget all that you know about the Archie universe. This is now “Archie: True Detective.”

It’s true, Archie Comics has been delving into darker material of late, even resorting to killing off Archie in one of their more serious comics iterations…if only to hijack some headlines. “Afterlife with Archie,” anyone? Yes, it’s a real comic.

It seems to have worked though, as the CW bit on a TV series.  However, this is a Riverdale far, far away from what you might remember in the Double Digest that you can still find next to the trashy celebrity rags at the checkout line of your local supermarket.

Does  anyone else open them up sometimes just to smell them? No, just me? Every once in awhile I just flip through a “Betty & Veronica” or “Archie’s Pals ‘N’ Gals” and inhale deeply, getting an instant rush of innocent childhood memories. Keeps me on the level.

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CHINTZY CUT OF THE WEEK: Fox’s “Alien: Covenant” (May 19, 2017)

For all the pomp and circumstance that has enveloped Ridley Scott’s career, he usually makes great films, followed by misfires, if not outright flops. His last film, “The Martian,” turned out to be the highest grossing flick of his career, grossing $630M globally.

No doubt the director of “Blade Runner” and the original “Alien” is in the genre he belongs in, but unlike “Prometheus,” which was more of a thought-provoking spin-off than a true “Alien” film, “Covenant” looks schlockingly regressive, as if someone is ripping off all the previous “Alien” films, likening itself most to the ill-fated “Alien: Resurrection.”

Sure, it will open big, but will drop into a chasm after opening weekend, as “Covenant” doesn’t look to have the DNA of the original that adhered to the age-old adage: less is more.  This is just another slaughter show; let’s just hope they don’t kill off Danny McBride right away.

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.

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Poster Image (Hidden Figures) Courtesy of Fox Movies; Poster Design by Gravillas Inc.

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