Hidden Figures to Top MLK Box Office Frame; Live by Night Struggles

Hidden Figures (2016) - Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend is traditionally one of the busier frames at the box office in January and in 2017, no less than five movies are debuting in theaters or going into wider release over the four-day holiday. That includes: Ben Affleck's period gangster drama/thriller Live by Night, Martin Scorsese's historical drama Silence, Peter Berg's docudrama/thriller Patriots Day and Ice Age director Chris Wedge's family-friendly adventure Monster Trucks.

Elsewhere in theaters, December holdover and box office titan Rogue One: A Star War Story continues to post solid numbers. Musical sensation La La Land is also aiming to reap the benefits of its recent victories at the 2017 Golden Globes ceremony with an increase in ticket sales - though the number one spot over the MLK frame looks to be claimed by the same crowd-pleasing hit that topped last weekend's U.S. box office derby.

The Wrap is reporting that true story-based historical drama Hidden Figures topped the U.S. box office on Friday with $5.5 million, a strong hold from its first day in wide theatrical release (where it made $7.6 million). Newly-released horror film The Bye Bye Man wasn't far behind with $5.4 million on Friday, but with Hidden Figures generating far better word of mouth among critics and general moviegoers (Bye Bye Man only has a C grade CinemaScore, on the other hand), it's expected to make $22 million over the four-day MLK frame versus Bye Bye Man's $15 million. It's all more the fitting that Hidden Figures, a film that celebrates the long-untold historical accomplishments of African-Americans, should be the #1 movie this weekend too.

Ben Affleck as Joe Coughlin in Live by Night
Ben Affleck as Joe Coughlin in Live by Night

As for the other new releases this weekend: next in line is Patriots Day, with a $4.13 million take at the Friday box office that puts it on course to make $15 million over the MLK frame (having previously earned some $800-900K in limited release). Those numbers are a bit below box office prognosticators' expectations heading into the weekend, but with Patriots Day - a dramatization of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing - generating positive word of mouth both critically and in terms of audience response (see its A CinemaScore) and having a budget of $45 million, it should ultimately manage to match or maybe exceed its production costs at the domestic box office.

Live by Night, on the other hand, only earned a B CinemaScore and wasn't well-received by critics; coupling that with its $1.95 million opening take on its first day of wide release (with its MLK frame take not expected to exceed $10 million) and the outlook for Affleck's $65 million gangster flick isn't good right now. Silence isn't expected to make more than $10 million over the MLK frame either - though with critical word of mouth on its side and a $40 million budget, the situation is less dire for Scorsese's film.

Last, but not least, Monster Trucks is actually performing above Paramount Pictures' (low) expectations, putting it on course to make $15 million over the MLK holiday frame. Problem is, Monster Trucks - a film that's only generating lukewarm buzz between its audience reception and (unenthusiastic) critical response - cost $125 million to produce; so while it may not lose as much money as Paramount was anticipating it would, Monster Trucks will still probably wind up being dubbed a commercial "bomb", when all is said and done.

Source: The Wrap

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