By Dave McNary
LOS ANGELES, Jan 8 (Variety.com) - "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" edged " " 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.
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.
"Hidden Figures" is performing far 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.
Three brilliant African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) -- serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world. Read More
Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter, Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing down when the evil Orson Krennic takes him away from his beloved family. Many years later, Galen becomes the Empire's lead engineer for the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, the Death Star. Knowing that her father holds the key to its destruction, Jyn joins forces with a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the space station's plans for the Rebel Alliance. Read More