( 4UMF NEWS ) ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Tops Box Office:
Straight Outta Compton and into the history books.
The N.W.A. biopic broke records with its $56.1 million haul at the weekend box office, more than doubling expectations set by Universal earlier in the week, according to tracking firm Rentrak. The sprawling hip-hop epic, which tracks the rise and rift of rap group N.W.A., had the biggest August opening ever for an R-rated film, ahead of American Pie 2’s $45.1 million start in 2001.
It’s also the best opening ever for a music biopic, according to Box Office Mojo, leaping past Johnny Cash drama Walk the Line’s $22.3 million launch in 2005, and performing on par with Eminem’s semi-autobiographical 8 Mile ($51.2 million) in 2002. It comes in just under the take of another music-driven summer hit, Pitch Perfect 2, which kicked off with a massive $69.2 million in May.
“From the very beginning of the summer, (Compton was) on pretty much every moviegoers’ must-see list,” says Rentrak senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “Not only did it over perform in terms of box office, but it also received high marks from critics and created a conversation,” boosted by its savvy use of social media (including a viral #StraightOutta meme).
Produced by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube and starring Corey Hawkins and O’Shea Jackson Jr. as their counterparts, Compton was enthusiastically received by critics (88% on review aggregate site RottenTomatoes.com) but even more so by audiences (96% approval rating).
Its topical stand against police violence, an emphasis in the movie’s promotion, may have piqued the interest of moviegoers, who were mostly men (60%) ages 25 and up (52%). There was also a wave of interest in Dre after the surprise release of his companion album, Compton, late last week. The star-studded album, his first in nearly 16 years, could sell as many as 300,000 copies in its first week, Billboard predicts.
The film continues a winning streak for Universal, which has reached a record-shattering $5.5 billion worldwide so far this year, thanks to other massive openings and sturdy holdovers in Furious 7, Jurassic World, Minions and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Compton “is just the latest example of Universal perfectly executing and distributing a movie this year,” Dergarabedian says. “It’s proof that a film can be a hit at any time of the year.”
Meanwhile, the weekend’s only other wide release, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., was essentially a non-starter. The European spy caper, based on the ’60s TV show of the same name, took in $13.5 million for third place. With a budget estimated at roughly $80 million, Warner Bros. will have to hope for a robust international take, similar to those of director Guy Ritchie’s popular Sherlock Holmes adaptations with Robert Downey Jr.
Starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Hollywood “It” girl Alicia Vikander, U.N.C.L.E. received decent reviews from critics (67% on Rotten Tomatoes) and solid audience reception (81% approval).
Rounding out the top five, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation dropped only 40% its third week for second place and $17 million ($138.1 million to date). Last weekend’s superhero misfire, Fantastic Four, continued to bomb with $8 million in fourth ($42 million), while critically lauded thriller The Gift, actor Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut, came in fifth with $6.5 million ($23.6 million).