Universal Pictures’ NWA Biopic Straight Outta Compton Wins the Weekend Box Office with $56.1 Million

Posted by at 4:48 am on August 17, 2015

Straight Outta Compton

In a year where we already have five movies grossing over $300 million (with the last “Hunger Games” and the first new “Star Wars” still on the way), Universal Pictures can claim three of those, including the third-highest grossing movie of all time in Jurassic World. In fact, Universal’s movies have grossed the company over $2 billion just in North America, so obviously they would already be having a great year and summer.

This weekend they released the hip-hop biopic Straight Outta Compton, based on the rise and fall of L.A.’s premiere gangsta rap group N.W.A, which was another monster hit for the studio. Directed by F. Gary Gray and starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr. and Paul Giamatti, Straight Outta Compton scored $4.9 million in Thursday previews and $24.2 million on Friday including those previews. Its estimated $56.1 opening weekend, which makes it the highest-opening biopic ever, even surpassing the $51 million opening of Universal’s Eminem drama 8 Mile back in 2002. It also scored the highest August opening for an R-rated film and with an “A” CinemaScore and a surprising 52% female audience, it’s likely to continue to do well over the rest of the summer leading into the generally slower September and October months.

Things didn’t go as well for Warner Bros.‘ period spy flick The Man from U.N.C.L.E., directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) and starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant and more, which opened with just $13.5 million in 3,638 theaters, an average of $3,711 per location, which is significantly below all projections. Maybe it was a bad idea to open it so soon after Tom Cruise’s own spy movie Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and U.N.C.L.E.‘s “B” CinemaScore from moviegoers isn’t a good sign that it will be hold up against the multiple action movies opening on Friday.

Paramount Pictures‘ Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation dropped to second place with an estimated $17 million, down 40% in its third weekend, as its domestic total is now $138.1 million.

20th Century Fox‘s Fantastic Four took a massive plunge in its second weekend, down 69% to $8 million for fourth place. That’s on par with second-week drops for other poorly-reviewed superhero movies like Fox’s Elektra and Ang Lee’s The Hulk, but its $42 million gross so far and the fact that it’s unlikely to even gross $80 million domestically is not a good sign for 20th Century Fox going ahead with a sequel.

STX Entertainment‘s psychological thriller The Gift, starring Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, and director Joel Edgerton, held upmuch better in its second weekend, down 45% with $6.5 million to settle into fifth place. It has grossed $23.6 million to date, which is decent considering the Blumhouse production cost a reported $5 million to make.

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man (Disney) was in sixth place with $5.5 million and a $158 million domestic gross in five weeks. The $189 million it has grossed overseas brings its global total to $347 million, which isn’t great compared to other Marvel movies but is pretty good for a movie called “Ant-Man.”

New Line and Warner Bros. Pictures’ remake/sequel Vacation brought in $5.3 million in its own third weekend for a domestic total of $46.8 million as it took seventh place.

Minions (Universal) followed, adding another $5.2 million this weekend to bring its domestic cume to $313 million, currently the fifth-highest grossing movie of the year domestically.

Meryl Streep and Jonathan Demme’s musical dramedy Ricki and the Flash (Sony) took in $4.6 million in its second weekend, a respectable 30% downgrade from its opening, as it took ninth place.

Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck (Universal) closed off the Top 10 with $3.8 million in 1,998 theaters as it gets closer to $100 million with $98 million earned domestically.

The most significant limited release this weekend was Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s Mistress America (Fox Searchlight), starring Lola Kirke, which opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles where it grossed an estimated $94,000, or $23,500 per theater. That’s less than Baumbach’s While We’re Young grossed in its platform release earlier in the year, although that movie had bigger stars like Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts and Amanda Seyfried. Then again, it’s also less than Baumbach and Gerwig’s last pairing for 2013’s Frances Ha, which went on to make $4 million.

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