byEvidence that atypical stories (for Hollywood, anyway) are definitely worth telling…
Adding in numbers from last weekend, the space-race drama about three black NASA mathematicians has earned more domestically than “Jason Bourne” and “Star Trek Beyond,” both released in July, as The Wrap first reported.
That just goes to show how a little film about real-life heroes can resonate far better than fictional ones. Even if the fictional ones have tentpole budgets and massive ad campaigns on their side.
And while “Hidden Figures” was released in December, its position as an Academy Award contender has allowed it to linger in theaters, meaning it’s not quite done racking up ticket sales, which currently stand at $162.9 million domestically. “Jason Bourne” and “Star Trek Beyond” earned $162.4 million and $158.8 million in the U.S., respectively.
Before last weekend, the film had already topped domestic box-office receipts of “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Trolls,” “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Ghostbusters.” That’s in addition to the lead it’s maintained over “La La Land.”
Starring Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae, “Hidden Figures” has proved to be a domestic smash hit. But the film hasn’t pulled the same lead over those big studio offerings on a global scale. Its worldwide box office numbers are a bit over $200 million ― a respectable sum for an original movie, but still far below that of the other films mentioned here. “X-Men: Apocalypse,” for one, nearly reached $550 million in ticket sales worldwide.
Familiar franchises like “X-Men” and “Star Trek,” however, typically fare quite well in the lucrative Chinese market. And those generally cost a lot more to make.
With a mid-sized budget of $25 million, “Hidden Figures” stands as financial evidence that atypical stories (for Hollywood, anyway) starring minority characters are definitely worth telling. The surprising success of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” ― which illustrates racism in America through the lens of both horror and comedy ― is another prime example, having raked in more than $110 million from a budget of $4.5 million.
The largest studios may take a while to loosen their purse strings for big-budget films led by people of color and other minorities. But that doesn’t mean those stories can’t be popular.