Tag: Ted Melfi

‘Hidden Figures’ Tops ‘Rogue One,’ With $22.8M #1 Debut at Box Office

(PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX 2000)

article by Scott Mendelson via forbes.com

With the always present caveat that “rank doesn’t matter,” it turns out that Hidden Figures was the top movie of the weekend, not Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As you probably know, the weekend box office that everyone reports on Sunday is comprised of estimates and when the rankings are close the order can sometimes shift when the final numbers drop. So yeah, Hidden Figures earned a terrific $22.8 million, about $1m more than estimated, which is a sign that the film is building on its buzz and word-of-mouth.

Meanwhile, Rogue One had to settle for a $22m fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $477.3m. The story though, isn’t necessarily that Hidden Figures, which stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Mahershala Ali, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons and Kevin Costner, bested the fourth weekend of Star Wars (or the third weekend of Sing) in its wide release debut. No, it’s that Hidden Figures, a historical drama about female African-American NASA mathematicians whose skills were essential to putting Americans into space, earned $22.8 million on its opening weekend, bringing the domestic total for the $25m Fox 2000/Chermin release to $24.7m.

At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, the triumph of said Allison Schroeder/Ted Melfi-written studio programmer, based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, is a huge win for the notion that movies about women, women of color no less, can be not just critically acclaimed and award-worthy but also multiplex-friendly box office hits. This shouldn’t be a surprise. We should know this by now. The Help earned $169 million domestic in 2011, more than X-Men: First Class ($146m), and earned about as much worldwide ($216m) as the 3D/$200m+ Green Lantern ($219m).

Back in 1995, Waiting to Exhale made about as much domestically ($67.4m) as Bad Boys, Outbreak and Heat. The entire Tyler Perry media empire is built on audiences (black women and otherwise) going to movie theaters to see mainstream melodramas about African-American women. Hell, we forget about it now, but Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple earned $94.1 million domestic in 1985 ($216m in 2017 dollars). That doesn’t mean every Baggage Claim is going to break out, but if you treat movies like Hidden Figures like an event, the audience will show up.

To read more, go to: Box Office: ‘Hidden Figures’ Topped ‘Rogue One,’ But Its Real Victory Was That $22.8M Debut

FILM: Uncovering a Tale of Rocket Science, Race and the ’60s in “Hidden Figures”

Janelle Monae (i)Taraji P. Henson (m)and Octavia Spencer (r) and star in “Hidden Figures,” a largely untold story of African-American mathematicians in the space program. (photo via nytimes.com)

article by Cara Buckley via nytimes.com

ATLANTA — Taraji P. Henson hates math, and Octavia Spencer has a paralyzing fear of calculus, but that didn’t stop either actress from playing two of the most important mathematicians the world hasn’t ever known.

Both women are starring in “Hidden Figures,” a forthcoming film that tells the astonishing true story of female African-American mathematicians who were invaluable to NASA’s space program in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s.

Ms. Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a math savant who calculated rocket trajectories for, among other spaceflights, the Apollo trips to the moon. Ms. Spencer plays her supervisor, Dorothy Vaughan, and the R&B star Janelle Monáe plays Mary Jackson, a trailblazing engineer who worked at the agency, too.

Slated for wide release in January, the film is based on the book of the same title, to be published this fall, by Margot Lee Shetterly. The author grew up knowing Ms. Johnson in Hampton, Va., but only recently learned about her outsize impact on America’s space race.

To read full article, go to: Uncovering a Tale of Rocket Science, Race and the ’60s

Pharrell Williams Joins Fox 2000’s “Hidden Figures” Starring Taraji P. Henson as Producer, Will Write Music

Pharrell Williams (photo via deadline.com)
Pharrell Williams (photo via deadline.com)

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com*

Pharrell Williams will produce Taraji P. Henson’s mathematics drama “Hidden Figures” and write original songs for the soundtrack.

Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Ted Melfi are also producing, and Melfi is directing. Williams will oversee all musical elements for the motion picture and its soundtrack.

Henson stars along with Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as a trio of brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind the 1962 launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit — a key milestone in the space race against the Soviet Union to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

“After my producing partner Mimi Valdés and I heard about this project, we basically begged the producers and studio to allow us to participate,” Williams said. “This is an extraordinary story about black women with genius mathematical minds who contributed to American history. It takes place in Virginia, my home state, and at NASA, a place I’ve been obsessed with since childhood.”

Fox will release “Hidden Figures” on Jan. 13. Also starring are Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge and Kevin Costner. The screenplay is by Alison Schroeder, Melfi and Lori Lakin Hutcherson.

Williams has won 10 Grammy Awards. He’s also known for his musical contributions to the “Despicable Me” films as well as his judging stint on NBC’s “The Voice.”

*(GBN disclosure from Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson:  the above is an article in which I am mentioned, as I am primarily a writer in television and film, and was fortunate enough to work on “Hidden Figures.” It may be a conflict of interest to have published this, but so be it – it’s an awesome film and Good Black News regardless!)

Janelle Monae Joins Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer in Fox 2000’s ‘Hidden Figures’

article by Jeff Sneider via thewrap.com

Pop star Janelle Monae has landed the third lead alongside Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer in the Fox 2000 drama “Hidden Figures.”

Ted Melfi is directing the movie and producing with Chernin Entertainment and Donna Gigliotti of Levantine Films. The film is based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s upcoming book “Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race,” which will be published in September by HarperCollins.

The story follows three African-American women who served as the brains behind NASA’s Friendship 7 mission, which saw astronaut John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth in February 1962.

Henson will play Katherine Johnson, Spencer will play Dorothy Vaughan and Monae will play the youngest member of the trio, Mary Jackson. Kevin Costner will co-star as the head of the space program.

To read more, go to: http://www.thewrap.com/janelle-monae-joins-taraji-p-henson-octavia-spencer-in-fox-2000s-hidden-figures-exclusive/

Octavia Spencer to Play Mathematician Opposite Taraji P. Henson in ‘Hidden Figures’

Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer (ERIK PENDZICH/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Octavia Spencer is on board to co-star opposite Taraji P. Henson in Fox 2000’s “Hidden Figures.”

The studio has been developing the adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book “Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race,” published by HarperCollins.

“St. Vincent” director Ted Melfi is attached to direct and produce the film along with Chernin Entertainment and Donna Gigliotti of Levantine Films.

The story centers on Johnson (Henson), a brilliant African-American mathematician who, along with her colleagues Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history — the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and his safe return. The three women crossed all gender, race and professional lines while embarking on the mission. Spencer will play one of the three mathematicians.

Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission in 1962 and became the first American to orbit the Earth.

The book will be published in September from HarperCollins.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/octavia-spencer-taraji-p-henson-mathematicians-hidden-figures-1201708407/

 

Taraji P. Henson to Star as Math Genius Katherine Johnson in New Film “Hidden Figures”

Taraji P. Henson (photo via zap2it.com)
Taraji P. Henson (photo via zap2it.com)

article by Dan McNary via Variety.com

“Empire” star and Golden Globes award winner Taraji P. Henson will play mathematics genius Katherine Johnson in “Hidden Figures” for Fox 2000.

The studio has been developing the adaptation of the Margot Lee Shetterly book “Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race,” to published by this fall by HarperCollins.

The story centers on Johnson, a brilliant African-American mathematician who, along with her colleagues Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history — the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and his safe return. The three women crossed all gender, race and professional lines while embarking on the mission.

Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission in 1962 and became the first American to orbit the Earth.  Johnson was recently honored by Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“St. Vincent” director Ted Melfi is attached to direct. Producers are Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping through Chernin Entertainment; Donna Gigliotti of Levantine Films; and Melfi.

Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva are overseeing the project for Fox 2000. Fox has already set a January 13, 2017 release date for “Hidden Figures.”