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Weekend Box Office: Compton Knocks It Straight Outta the Park

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By Chris Kavan - 08/16/15 at 10:25 PM CT

Expectations for Straight Outta Compton continued to improve as it approached the weekend, but even the most rosy of forecasts paled in comparison to the actual results. Because of the big wind for the NWA biopic, the weekend was up 4% compared to last year - I wasn't expecting any weekend to approach the record-setting August of last year, so this is nice bonus for Hollywood. Man from U.N.C.L.E. was mostly a distant afterthought to audiences as Mission: Impossible continued to post strong numbers.


The buzz for Straight Outta Compton was stellar heading into the weekend. The film rode that buzz to a great $56.1 million opening. For the record books that is the sixth best August opening of all time (coming in between the totals for Rise of the Planet of the Apes with $54 million and behind the opening for Signs with $60 million); it is also the 10th best opening for an R-rated film. In terms of musical biopics, it blew away the competition, easily topping previous record-holder Walk the Line (which opened to $22 million). It should be able to take the crown for highest-grossing musical biopic if not next week than certainly before it ends its run. The film only cost $29 million, so it's another win for Universal Pictures. The studio became the fastest studio to hit the $2 billion mark domestically, topping Warner Bros., which had to wait until Dec. 25th (in 2009) to hit that same mark. Not only that, but audiences gave the film an "A" Cinemascore - and thus it's long-term prospects look to be solid. It should cruise to an easy $125 million mark - and probably well beyond that as well. It's pretty amazing that an R-rated picture about divisive hip-hop artists could not only strike a chord, but that it turned out so well. In the past musical biopics have been nominated for a slew of awards. We'll see if this is still the case or if the racially-motivated pictured is overlooked. I, for one, am putting for it.


After topping the box office for two weeks, Rogue Nation dipped a spot but was off just 40.4%. That is a decent hold (especially with another spy caper being released) and gave the film a $17 million weekend with a new total of $138.1 million. Overseas it has picked up $235,3 million and sits at $373.4 million for its global total. Expect this one to hit $150 million by next weekend with a global take approaching $400 million as well.


Guy Ritchie's attempt to revitalize an old franchise and make it cool again (like Sherlock Holmes) didn't fare quite as well this time around. Of course, with no names quite as big as Robert Downey, Jr., it was probably inevitable. The combined box office power of Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander just couldn't draw in a crowd, and U.N.C.L.E. had to settle for a third-place finish of just $13.5 million. Without star power, and basing its premise on a more obscure property, I actually think that was about as good as could have been hoped for. Granted, I'm sure Warner Brothers was expecting more - the reported $80 million pricetag is going to need international help if it was to break even or come out ahead - as domestically, the film is going to be lucky to hit $50 million.


The bad buzz and bad blood generated by The Fantastic Four surely showed in its second weekend out. After a dismal opening, the superhero film took a nasty 68.9% tumble in its second weekend out. That drop is pretty much on par with Elecktra and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (both which hit 69%) and just under the current "winner" Hulk at 69.7%. What it means is that the $8 million it took in isn't going to help it much in the long run. At $41.9 million - the film is going to hit $50 million, but it's looking like it will stall shortly after, solidifying its place as one of the year's biggest disappointments.


After opening a bit stronger than expected last week, The Gift proved it was no fluke by dropping a minimal 45.2% - for a horror/thriller that is actually a decent hold. It may not be such a great hold for the film itself - which word-of-mouth would suggest could have held better, but still, the $6.5 million it brought it helped it to a new total of $23.5 million - and considering its $5 million budget, it's going to wind up in the black and should be a better hit once it hits streaming.

Outside the top five: Nothing to report as no new milestones were hit domestically and none of the limited release films had much of an impact. The only international news of note is that Minions (currently $957 million) should be able to top $1 billion on the worldwide market. It currently sits as the 5th-highest grossing animated film of all time (globally) so we'll see if it can hit that milestone.

Next week as summer draws ever closer to its final gasp, we see the release of horror film Sinister 2, another video-game-based movie in Hitman: Agent 47 (sure to break the curse of bad video game movies... right?) and the latest drug comedy in American Ultra. I suspect none of them are going to get the same response as Straight Outta Compton.


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