By Dave McNary
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Disney-Lucasfilm's "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" edged "Hidden Figures" in the race for the top spot at the North American box office with an estimated $22 million at 4,175 locations, estimates showed Sunday.
"Hidden Figures," a comedy-drama about pioneering African-American women in the early days of the American space program, trailed by only $200,000 with $21.8 million at 2,471 sites. So the positions could reverse when final figures for weekend are released Monday.
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Snowy weather in the Eastern United States held down overall moviegoing during Friday and Saturday.
It was the fourth consecutive weekend victory for "Rogue One," which has lifted its domestic total to $477.3 million. The eighth "Star Wars" movie is now the eighth-largest domestic grosser of all time, trailing "Finding Dory" by less than $10 million.
"Rogue One" also launched in China with $31 million in its first weekend, pushing the international total to $437 million. Its worldwide box office has hit $914.4 million in less than a month.
Illumination-Universal's "Sing" was headed for a close third with $19.6 million at 3,955 sites. Sony's opening of "Underworld: Blood Wars" is looking at a fourth-place finish with $13.1 million at 3,070 locations, followed by Lionsgate's expansion of awards contender "La La Land" with $10 million at 1,515 venues.
Sony's sci-fi romance "Passengers" finished sixth with $8.8 million at 3,400 sites, bringing its total to $80.9 million after three weeks. Fox's third weekend of romantic comedy "Why Him?" followed with $6.5 million at 2,904 locations for a total of $49 million.
"Hidden Figures" is performing well above recent forecasts, which had ranged between $16 million and $18 million. Taraji P. Henson stars as Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who, along with her colleagues Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), helps launch astronaut John Glenn into space.
The awards-season contender has a modest $25 million budget. Spencer is up for a Golden Globe in the supporting actress category on Sunday along with a SAG Award. The ensemble cast has also been nominated for a SAG Award.
Female customers dominated "Hidden Figures" business, comprising 64 percent of the audience. Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson noted that "Hidden Figures" generated an A+ CinemaScore in all categories.
"That's extremely rare to see," he added. "With stellar exit polls, better weather, and a holiday weekend ahead, look for 'Hidden Figures' to be a factor at the domestic box office for weeks and weeks to come."