Box Office: Straight Outta Compton Blows Up With $56 Million Bow

Is it wrong to say that a music biopic on the rise of gangsta rap did gangbusters at theaters? Well, that’s what happened. Once again Universal Studios is running away with box office glory as its taking a chance on a hip hop biopic was a big winner. Straight Outta Compton (read our review) blew away the competition with a $56 million weekend, which was far greater than some pundits had predicted. I read some expected it to open at $32 million. My own prediction was $45 million, which was better but still off by $11 million.

Compton‘s debut was so strong that it registered the sixth highest grossing release of the summer and the second film to not be comic-book related or part of a franchise (the other was Pixar’s Inside Out which scored $90 million its debut weekend). This is the part where to make mention the debate of the underserved public and an untapped market that studios fail to target consistently. But a good story, regardless of characters or environment, should appeal to more than one demographic. Yes, Compton may be about the rise of gangsta rap, but the film’s themes about fame and success correlate to other musical genres and professions as well.

The success of Straight Outta Compton has helped Universal reach $5.53 billion so far in 2015. ($1.9587 billion of that is in U.S., which equates to 27.8% of the total market share. Disney is second with $1.3907 billion – 19.7% of the market.) No other studio has achieved such a goal. And just a few years ago, Universal couldn’t make a hit (outside of its established franchises) to save its life.

Universal may be the big winner, but filmmaker F. Gary Gray‘s return to the director’s chair after Law Abiding Citizen (released in 2009) could help in his campaign to want to direct Black Panther for Marvel Studios.

Sadly, the success of Straight Outta Compton meant failure for Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (read our review). With a $75 million price tag, according to some reports, the spy movie could only muster $13.5 million in its debut weekend. That’s a shame too. The film is cool and fun, and almost too good to be dumped by the studio in August. As much as I want a sequel, sadly, Warner Bros. will likely give us a third Sherlock Holmes with Ritchie at the helm again.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation continues its double digit earnings with $17 million for its third weekend of release to bring its total to $138 million ($373.4 million worldwide with openings in Japan, China and Mexico among others to come).

Fox’s Fantastic Four, the subject of critical drubbing and tabloid fodder, took a nosedive for its second weekend dropping 69% to finish with $8 million. Ouch.

Having said Joel Edgerton’s The Gift would have legs thanks to its warm reception from audiences and critics in its debut weekend, it looks like my prediction was right as it dropped a few slots to fifth with $6.5 million. In two weeks it is at $23.5 million. Not bad for studio STX, in which its first film release was budgeted at $5 million.

Universal’s dominance is also in the back end of the top 10 as Minions has raced beyond $950 million worldwide! Next stop is the billion mark and when that happens it will be the third Universal film of 2015 to eclipse that mark (the others being Furious 7 and Jurassic World). The Universal comedy Trainwreck rounds out the list with $3.8 million. It should eclipse $100 million US by next week.

On tap this weekend we have Hitman: Agent 47 versus American Ultra. It looks like a dead weekend for new titles, so look for Straight Outta Compton to retain its #1 ranking.

Top 10 below.

01. Straight Outta Compton — $56,100,000
02. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation — $17,300,000 ($138,437,000)
03. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — $13,535,000
04. Fantastic Four — $8,000,000 ($41,961,000)
05. The Gift — $6,500,000 ($23,577,000)
06. Ant-Man — $5,517,000 ($157,568,000)
07. Vacation — $5,330,000 ( $46,852,000)
08. Minions — $5,200,000 ($312,969,000)
09. Ricki and the Flash — $4,570,000 ($14,656,000)
10. Trainwreck — $3,800,000 ($97,919,000)

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