‘Hidden Figures’ keeps orbit at top, others flop

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‘Hidden Figures’ keeps orbit at top, others flop

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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. Warner Bros.’ “Live by Night,” adapted from Dennis Lehane’s novel, earned a mere $5.4 million in 2,471 theaters. Paramount’s “Silence,” from Susaku Endo’s novel of 17th century Jesuit priests in Japan, took in $1.9 million in 747 theaters.

“Live by Night” was Affleck’s directorial follow-up to the best-picture winning “Argo.” Written, directed and starring Affleck, 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 was an especially crowded weekend. “La La Land,” the Oscar favorite, danced into second place with $14.5 million. Damien Chazelle’s musical, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, saw a considerable boost from last Sunday’s Golden Globes.

The surprise success was the supernatural thriller “The Bye Bye Man,” which, with some help from Friday the 13th on the calendar, made $13.4 million.

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. AP
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