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Monday, August 17, 2015

#BoxOffice Report: #StraightOuttaCompton Raps Its Way to The Top

The NWA biopic registers the fourth largest August bow while Man From U.N.C.L.E. gets taken out.

Story by Matt Cummings

Straight Outta Compton delivered solid box office numbers over the weekend, crushing its competition with $60.2m. Led by strong word of mouth and solid reviews, the biopic about rap group NWA including a very strong $24.12m Friday on its way to the fourth largest opening for an August film. These numbers are all the more impressive when you consider it did not play either in 3D or at any IMAX - that privilege went to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Although its 'A' rating from CinemaScore and impressive 96% audience score from Flixster should bode well for its immediate future, the film will most likely endure for another reason: the lack of strong candidates remaining for the month. Under those conditions, we think this and at least one other film on our list should do well as the summer winds down.

With a modest drop of 40%, the Tom Cruise spy action/thriller Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation dipped to No. 2 with $17.19m. Its loss of IMAX theaters was partially to blame for the lower number, but it's got far more going for it than just that format. Graced with solid reviews, Paramount's decision to move the film up to July was genius, as it's grossed $138.32 million through 17 days of release. That's 34% ahead of the $103.54 million number for 2006's Mission: Impossible III and 3.5% ahead of the $133.58 million 17-day gross of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which was released around the same time). Given these and other factors, Rogue Nation seems very likely to maintain solid numbers for the rest of the month. Consider Ethan Hunt's mission as a complete success.

Coming in at No. 3 was The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which started off with a soft $13.42m. The Guy Ritchie-directed spy comedy starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer opened lower than expected and could be another flop for a summer that's had a few of them. Some critics complain that Straight Outta Compton took much of the interest away from Man, but we think Rogue Nation was the clear culprit. Perhaps Warner Bros. should have considered moving it to September or October, or perhaps not moved it at all from its original January 2016 slot. The film's not bad, but we think proximity played a big part in its failure. It did not play well with its intended audience of 50-somthings, who might have felt cheated by Richie's decision to port over so little of the show's original premise. Given these and other factors, we think The Man from U.N.C.L.E. will have difficulty keeping its head above water, as lower-echelon films like The Transporter and Hitman: Agent 47 will soon be vying for its third-place spot.

If numbers tell us a lot, consider the plight of The Fantastic Four this weekend: it dropped two spots No. 4 and only took in $8.17m...for the weekend. The Josh Trank/20th Century Fox disaster was down a whopping 68 percent from last weekend opening, based on a series of debacles from both Fox and Trank, who tried to distance himself from the final version as its release approached. In ten days, The Fantastic Four has managed a meager $42.13m, which down over 50% form the 10-day 2007 gross for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. And we all know what that trainwreck did for the franchise. With few options at its disposal, Fox is about to get clobbered with this franchise.

No. 5 saw strong returns for The Gift, coming in with $6.51m. Joel Edgerton's directorial debut held up well, off just 45% from last weekend. Given that The Gift cost just $5m to make - and has made $23.59m - STX Entertainment has a clear winner on its hands. Given the thin releases coming out for the remainder of August, we could see an actual drop between 2014 and 2015, although it will ultimately be more like a setback than a crushing defeat. We still think 2015 will be the largest in box office history, given Universal's absolute dominance so far, as well as the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December and a number of interesting films in September and October.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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