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‘Hidden Figures’ Topples ‘Rogue One’ for Top Spot at Weekend Box Office with Stunning Debut

Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures” (Fox)

In a science-based race to the top spot at the box office, “Hidden Figures” won out over “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” this weekend. The NASA-based film, which was the subject of an unfortunate name screw-up at the Golden Globes, earned $22.8 million in its first week of wide release, proving audiences want to see Black Girl Magic on screen.

Based on a true story, “Hidden Figures” stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as three Black mathematicians who help NASA send John Glenn into space. According to The Hollywood Reporter, early estimates made Sunday, Jan. 7, showed the biographical film and the standalone “Star Wars” flick tying for the No. 1 spot. But “Figures” ultimately ended “Rouge One’s” three-week reign at the top position thanks in part to the 37 percent of ticket buyers who were Black. “Star Wars” was second at $22.1 million, while the animated movie “Sing” rounded out the top three by pulling in $20 million.

Henson and Monáe both applauded their film’s ranking on Instagram Monday, Jan. 9.

“I have been told my entire career, ‘Black women can’t open films domestically or internationally,'” Henson wrote. “Well, anything is possible. Most importantly, this proves that PEOPLE LIKE GOOD MATERIAL. HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GENDER OR RACE. Agreed?!”

The actress also noted the movie was impacted by the snowstorm that blew through the United States’ East coast and the fact that “Hidden Figures” was playing in fewer theaters than “Rouge One.” Box Office Mojo reported the film was open in 2,471 cinemas compared to the “Star Wars” film’s 4,157 showings, but business was better than expected for the historical film.

Monáe also celebrated the movie’s top spot and echoed many of her co-star’s sentiments.

“#HIDDENFENCES still managed to win the race!” she wrote. “THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO BOUGHT A TICKET, BROUGHT YOUR FAMILY/FRIENDS, TOLD A FRIEND, POSTED ON [social media] prayed for this film, etc. WE ARE Forever forever THANKFUL. WE DID THIS TOGETHER!”

“Mary, Katherine, Dorothy and all the colored and human computers at NASA who took America to space are HIDDEN NO MORE,” Monáe added, referencing the real-life scientists who inspired the story. “WE WILL NOT BE ERASED.”

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