'Hidden Figures' eyes a repeat at number one


It’s another long weekend on deck, with three new films and two December limited releases going wide over the Martin Luther King holiday. The former group consists of The Bye Bye Man, Monster Trucks and Sleepless, all of which have been subject to overwhelmingly negative reviews. Welcome to January. Of those three, the one with the widest release is big-budget children’s movie Monster Trucks, opening on 3,119 screens. It’s fair to say that no one expects Monster Trucks to do well, including distributor Paramount, which took a $115 writeoff on the film all the way back in September. It and horror movie The Bye Bye Man are expected to end up in the $5-7 million range, ahead of Jamie Foxx starrer Sleepless. That film, a remake of the well-regarded 2011 French actioner Sleepless Night, has gotten virtually no press and debuts on only 1,803 screens. Given that, it may not even crack the top ten.

With Monster Trucks, The Bye Bye Man and Sleepless all looking at exceedingly limited prospects, the path is clear for last week’s champ Hidden Figures to maintain its hold on the number one spot. (Last weekend saw the historical drama pull off an upset when it squeaked past Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the latter film’s fourth weekend.)

Hidden Figures’ main competition is Peter Berg’s Patriots Day, which expands from seven theatres to 3,120. Critical reception, while positive, has been less enthusiastic than that of Hidden Figures. We may also be looking at a case of Peter Berg-Mark Wahlberg disaster movie fatigue, as their Deepwater Horizon came out only three months ago. Deepwater opened to $20 million, and Patriots Day is expected to bring in slightly less.

Also expanding nationwide is the gangster drama Live by Night. Once thought to be an Oscar contender due to the presence of director/star Ben Affleck, critics and audiences alike just plain haven’t been impressed. Its three-week, four-theatre run has so far brought in only $181,963. The film will likely end up outside of the top five, behind Hidden Figures, Patriots Day, Rogue One, Sing and La La Land.

Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s Silence expands from 51 theatres to 747, which will probably land it in the neighborhood of $2 million. New to theatres in limited release are docs Reset and Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past and British indie drama 100 Streets.