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New in Theaters August 14: Straight Outta Compton, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

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By Chris Kavan - 08/13/15 at 06:39 AM CT

We are probably going to see the last hurrah of the summer movie season, as a music biopic with some strong tracking and another spy caper hit theaters to cap off a (mostly) positive summer. Of course, August is still likely going to be down quite a bit from last year, as there is no Guardians of the Galaxy-sized hit to be seen - but the year overall continues to go strong and should be topped off by a very good winter season (Hunger Games, Star Wars) to send it into the stratosphere.

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON The film with the biggest buzz in awhile is the NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton. The film follows the rise of the West Coast group (spearheaded by Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Easy-E) as they essentially revolutionize the rap and hip hop culture while dealing with rising racial tension in and round L.A. The film stars O'Shea Jackson Jr. s (the son of Ice Cube, portraying his father), Corey Hawkins as Dre and Jason Mitchell as Easy-E. Paul Giamatti is on board playing the beleaguered producer trying to get the group noticed for the talent they are, and Neil Brown Jr. and Aldis Hodge round out the cast as Dj Yella and MC Ren respectively. I cannot claim to be a huge fan of rap or hip hop, but something about the film grabs me - music biopics are often tough to get right, but this looks like it hits all the right notes - the casting, the involvement of the actual people and, of course, the music. All told, this is looking to open pretty big (around the $40 million range isn't out of the question) and should take the top spot at the box office. If it's as good as advertised, it may even come up again awards season.

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The other big film opening this weekend is The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander, the plot is set in the 1960s as a mysterious organization plans to create some nuclear weapons, and in order to stop them a CIA agent and KGB operative must join forces. The main reason this is probably going to wind up in the middle-of-the-road rather than an outright hit is that U.N.C.L.E. doesn't have the recognition of say James Bond or ever Mission: Impossible. Even with the talent involved, I don't see this opening to huge numbers. Plus, from what I've seen it also looks to be a bit too generic to draw in action fans and too obscure for younger audiences. I have a feeling third place may be the best the film could hope for, but we'll see where it ultimately winds up.

It should be an interesting weekend. Though many predicted the summer was out of hits, I have a feeling Straight Outta Compton is going to open big - it may not be enough to challenge the $1 billion August of last year, but it should cruise to the top spot and provide one, last bright spot for the summer.


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