Remember when critics argued Black women couldn’t headline an international box office hit? Yeah, me neither.
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson not only etched their names in the history books when they helped John Glenn launch into outer space, but the film about their triumph is now the highest grossing Best Picture nominee of the year.
According to Indiewire, Hidden Figures has grossed $119 million since opening on Christmas day, about a million dollars more than fellow Best Picture nominee La La Land, which has brought in around $118 million since opening in early December.
— Janelle Monáe, Cindi Mayweather👽🚆🤖🚀🪐 (@JanelleMonae) February 7, 2017
The film about three Black women who toiled in the shadows for NASA’s space program is not only a commercial hit, but it’s also won critical acclaim as well. Earlier this month Hidden Figures picked up a Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, and it’s now one of the front-runners–with Moonlight, Fences, and La La Land–to win the Academy Award.
At the SAG Awards, Hidden Figures star Taraji P. Henson said the film was about the power of togetherness.
“This film is about unity. The shoulders of the women that we stand on are three American heroes: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Without them, we would not know how to reach the stars,” she said. “This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside, and we come together as a human race.”
While Hollywood has been embroiled in a discussion about its diversity problem–yes, despite gains, the Oscars are still very, very White–Hidden Figures‘ strength at the box office shows what can happen when Black actors are given a chance to shine.
Britni Danielle is the Entertainment and Culture Director of EBONY. Follow her on Twitter @BritniDWrites