Film Forward

The 'Hidden Figures' Cast Explains Why Their Box Office Win Is Such A Big Deal

"People like good material. Has nothing to do with gender or race."

We've been excited to see Hidden Figures since the trailer first premiered last year, and it would seem we weren't the only ones. The film, which tells the true story of three Black women whose intellect helped send America to space, was No. 1 at the box office this past weekend.

According to Variety, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was estimated to top ticket sales for the fourth consecutive weekend, but Hidden Figures pulled ahead by about $700,000, for a $22.8 million total as of Monday. Beating a blockbuster like Star Wars is impressive in and of itself, but especially so when you consider that Hidden Figures was playing on almost 2,000 fewer screens.

Female viewers reportedly comprised 64 percent of the audience, which is hopeful news for the future of women in STEM fields, as well as evidence that films appealing to women can and do make money. It's also an important step toward improved representation of women and minorities on the big screen, as the film's cast expressed on social media following the big news.

"I have been told my entire career 'Black women can't open films domestically or internationally,'" Taraji P. Henson, who plays NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, wrote on Instagram. "Well anything is possible. Most importantly this proves that PEOPLE LIKE GOOD MATERIAL. HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GENDER OR RACE."

Henson also pointed out that winter weather across the country still didn't keep people away from the theaters.

Octavia Spencer, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Dorothy Vaughan, chimed in on her own account, "Thanks to everyone who saw the value in seeing this story told and finally giving these heroines their due!!!"

Janelle Monáe, who plays Mary Jackson, started her post off with an apt reference: "THE FORCE WAS WITH US. It took over 50 years to tell the story of these 3 brilliant African American female protagonists ... Mary, Katherine, Dorothy and all the colored and human computers at NASA who took America to space are HIDDEN NO MORE. WE WILL NOT BE ERASED."

According to the Huffington Post, Fox Domestic Distribution President Chris Aronson said, "It is a film for everyone regardless of age, gender or race, and effectively illustrates the power of the human mind and spirit."

Just like the women whose story it tells, Hidden Figures is not to be underestimated.

Cover image via 20th Century Fox

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