NEW YORK -- Labors of love, one from Martin Scorsese, the other from Ben Affleck, proved costly at a casualty strewn weekend box office where the uplifting NASA drama “Hidden Figures” stayed on top for the second straight week.
“Hidden Figures,” about African-American mathematicians in the 1960s space race, sold a leading $20.5 million in tickets in North American theaters over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, according to estimates Sunday. Fox anticipates the film, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, will make $25.3 million when Monday is included, bringing its cumulative total to about $60 million.
The weekend was more remarkable for what didn’t work than what did. Both Affleck’s period gangster thriller “Live by Night” and Scorsese’s Christian epic “Silence” bombed in their wide-release debuts, earning just $5.4 million in 2,471 theaters and $1.9 million in 747 theaters, respectively. Neither film earned enough to make it into the top 10 at the box office.
Both were high-profile projects that each filmmaker used their considerable sway to get made.
“Live by Night” was Affleck’s directorial follow-up to the best-picture winning “Argo.” It cost $90 million to make, though rebates and tax incentives lowered its budget to $65 million. But critics said “Live by Night” was a step backward for Affleck, who spent much of his publicity campaign fending off questions about his plans to direct a stand-alone Batman film for Warner Bros. The studio, which declined to comment Sunday, estimates “Live by Night” will make $6.7 million over the four-day weekend.
The epitome of a passion project, “Silence,” which Scorsese contemplated for nearly three decades, represents a culmination of the director’s investigations into the nature of faith. While the film, starring Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson, earned considerable respect from some critics, it failed to catch on in Hollywood’s awards season.
“It’s gotten great reviews and it’s Marty’s passion project, so we’re proud to be a part of it, and we’re going to keep putting it out there in front of audiences,” said Kyle Davies, Paramount’s domestic distribution chief.
“Silence,” never conceived as a particularly commercial release, cost about $50 million to make. The studio expects it to earn $2.3 million over the four-day weekend.
Disney’s “Rogue One” added an additional $13.8 million to its coffers. The film is now poised to cross $1 billion shortly, with $980 million globally to date.
These are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Final four-day domestic figures will be released Tuesday.
1. “Hidden Figures,” $20.5 million
2. “La La Land,” $14.5 million
3. “Sing,” $13.8 million
4. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” $13.8 million
5. “The Bye Bye Man,” $13.4 million
6. “Patriots Day,” $12 million
7. “Monster Trucks,” $10.5 million
8. “Sleepless,” $8.5 million
9. “Underworld: Blood Wars,” $5.8 million
10. “Passengers,” $5.6 million