Tattle: Octavia Spencer wants everyone to see 'Hidden Figures' and she's willing to help

"HIDDEN FIGURES": Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) are three brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. (Photo Credit: Hopper Stone / Twentieth Century Fox)

Octavia Spencer didn't have much growing up – and then she lost her mother when she was only 18.

To honor the memory of Dellsena Spencer, Octavia bought out the Friday night showing of Hidden Figures at the Rave Baldwin Hills theater in L.A. and invited folks who didn't have money for movies to come see it.

People.com reported that Octavia wrote on Instagram: "If you know a family in need that would like to see our movie but can't afford it have them come. It's first come, first served.

"My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings. So, I'm honoring her and all single parents this #mlkweekend. Pass the word."

Speaking of Hidden Figures...

So you're an executive sitting in a Hollywood meeting a few years back and you're pitched an idea about three African-American women in the early 1960s who work as mathematicians at NASA and help John Glenn get into space.

And it's a true story.

Against all odds and all previous evidence – there's not a particularly long list of hit movies about blacks in the sciences – you not only say, "Great idea," you say, "And let's open it against the new 'Star Wars.'"

The result? Box office gold.

Hidden Figures 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 Spencer, Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae, will make $25.3 million when Monday is included, bringing its cumulative total to about $60 million.

Garnering figures they'll wish were hidden were Ben Affleck's period gangster thriller Live by Night and Martin Scorsese's Christian epic Silence, which both struggled in their wide-release debuts. Live by Night, adapted from Dennis Lehane's novel, earned a mere $5.4 million in 2,471 theaters. Silence, from Susaku Endo's novel of 17th century Jesuit priests in Japan, took in $1.9 million in 747 theaters.

The most costly flop, however, was the family film Monster Trucks. It earned $10.5 million over the three-day weekend, but cost $125 million to make. Viacom already took a $115 million write-down late last year on the movie, a rare admission, before its release, that Monster Trucks was a dud.

Meanwhile, La La Land, another unique movie that somehow got greenlit by a studio, took in $14.5 million more. It has made $74.1 million domestically in six weeks. It's also doing well internationally, earning more than $50 million.

The supernatural thriller The Bye Bye Man surprised with $13.4 million, Patriots Day took in a so-so $12 million in its first week of nationwide wide release, and Sleepless, a vigilante revenge thriller starring Jamie Foxx, opened with a meager $8.5 million. Rogue One added an additional $13.8 million and now stands at $980 million globally.

Tattbits

Another grand tradition bites the dust as the owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday that they will close the 146-year-old show in May.

Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said declining attendance combined with high operating costs (and a lack of elephants) are the reasons for closing.

Although it will be fashionable in some circles to blame PETA and political correctness, the real problem is technology, a million things to do in the palm of your hand and a generation of children with attention spans similar to gnats.

Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season: "Circus Extreme" and "Out of This World." The final show for "Circus Extreme" will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7, and the other will close after a performance in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.

"Circus Extreme" will play the Wells Fargo Center from Feb. 15-20.

And President-Elect Trump is going to have to find jobs for clowns somewhere other than congress.

The Los Angeles Times says that a TV show in which a white actor plays Michael Jackson, has been scrapped.

The series Urban Myths had set an episode with actors playing Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, all in a car, taking a post-9/11 road trip.

But the British television channel Sky Arts has decided not to air the program after the late King of Pop's family expressed outrage over the portrayal of MJ by the British actor Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love).

E! News reports that Kate Rooney Mara, whose families own both the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers, is engaged to marry British actor Jamie Bell.

The couple met in 2014 on the set of Fantastic Four.

So at least one good thing came out of that movie.

– Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.

gensleh@phillynews.com

215-854-5678 @DNTattle