When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.

Hidden Figures
20th Century Fox


Next up in the tournament is Hidden Figures, the Ted Melfi-directed true story of the African American female mathematicians whose number-crunching played an indispensable role in getting the early Project Mercury missions safely into space and back. The film, produced by Chernin Entertainment and Levantine Films, starred Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae as the numbers crunchers and Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst and Mahershala Ali, and it was the biggest-grossing film in the Oscar Best Picture race. Here are how the numbers worked out.


Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:


Hidden Figures made its presence felt for the first time at the Toronto Film Festival, even though it did not play on the fest’s program. Fox smartly brought a selection of scenes from the film, and then staged an outdoor concert with Pharrell, a producer on the film. It gave the film a nice first-awareness boost for a film that made its qualifying run December 25, opened wide in early January, and stayed vibrant through much of the winter. It was a solid hit for Melfi, who wrote the script with Allison Schroeder, and it one of the few Best Picture candidates that played like a throwback big studio film that was like a bowl of chicken soup and a welcome entry following last year’s Oscars so lamented for lack of diversity. The film grossed $165.68 domestic and only $48.78 overseas for a $214.46 global total. The Participations and Off-the-Tops reached $36 million, and that meant a $95.55 net profit for Fox, and a Cash on Cash Return of 1.64.