NEW YORK — Labors of love, one from Martin Scorsese, the other from Ben Affleck, proved costly at a casualty strewn weekend box office where the uplifting NASA drama “Hidden Figures” stayed on top for the second straight week.

“Hidden Figures,” about African-American mathematicians in the 1960s space race, sold a leading $20.5 million in tickets in North American theaters over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, according to estimates Sunday. Fox anticipates the film, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, will make $25.3 million when Monday is included, bringing its cumulative total to about $60 million.

The weekend was more remarkable for what didn’t work than what did. Both Affleck’s period gangster thriller “Live by Night” and Scorsese’s Christian epic “Silence” bombed in their wide-release debuts. Warner Bros.’ “Live by Night,” adapted from Dennis Lehane’s novel, earned a mere $5.4 million in 2,471 theaters. Paramount’s “Silence,” from Susaku Endo’s novel of 17th century Jesuit priests in Japan, took in $1.9 million in 747 theaters.

Both were high-profile projects that each filmmaker used their considerable sway to get made.

The top 10 in estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore:

1. “Hidden Figures,” $20.5 million.

2. “La La Land,” $14.5 million ($17.8 million international).

3. “Sing,” $13.8 million ($13.2 million international).

4. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” $13.8 million ($21.9 million international).

5. “The Bye Bye Man,” $13.4 million ($1.3 million international). 6. “Patriots Day,” $12 million ($1.3 million international).

7. “Monster Trucks,” $10.5 million ($4 million international).

8. “Sleepless,” $8.5 million.

9. “Underworld: Blood Wars,” $5.8 million ($1.4 million international).

10. “Passengers,” $5.6 million ($32.5 million international).

“Live by Night” was Affleck’s directorial follow-up to the best-picture-winning “Argo.” Written, directed and starring Affleck, it cost $90 million to make, although rebates and tax incentives lowered its budget to $65 million. Critics said “Live by Night” was a step backward for Affleck, who spent much of his publicity campaign fending off questions about his plans to direct a stand-alone Batman film for Warner Bros. The studio, which declined to comment Sunday, estimates “Live by Night” will make $6.7 million over the four-day weekend.

The epitome of a passion project, “Silence,” which Scorsese contemplated for nearly three decades, represents a culmination of the director’s investigations into the nature of faith. While the film, starring Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson, earned considerable respect from some critics, it failed to catch on in Hollywood’s awards season.

– Associated Press


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