As expected, Universal Pictures' runaway hit Straight Outta Compton secured its third straight win at the box office this weekend, taking in $13.2 million. The big surprise, though, was the over-performing faith-based drama War Room, which earned second place with an estimated $11 million, according to Box Office Mojo, out-grossing major studio new releases No Escape and We Are Your Friends (which didn't even crack the top 10), with far less publicity and advertisement. Neither movie was expected to put up huge numbers, considering the last weekend of the summer movie season is always light on box office returns, but War Room's performance is still impressive, nonetheless.
War Room opened in the least amount of theaters of any movie in the top 10, scoring the best per-screen average of all films this weekend with a $9,692 average from 1,135 theaters. The drama, which centers on a mother who turns to faith to try and save her family, doesn't feature any major stars, but is directed by Alex Kendrick, whose films such as Courageous, Fireproof and Facing the Giants pulled in impressive box office numbers without the fanfare of a major studio release. War Room's impressive release, and the success of other faith-based films like last year's God's Not Dead proves that this genre is not one to be discounted.
While it remains to be seen if Straight Outta Compton can pull off a fourth straight win over the Labor Day holiday weekend, it's three-week run is truly impressive as well. The N.W.A. biopic's $13.2 million take brings its overall domestic haul to $134.2 million, from a $28 million budget. The drama isn't faring so well overseas, though, taking in just $6.8 million in international markets. This weekend, Straight Outta Compton took in a $4,214 per-screen average from 3,142 theaters, a 117-theater increase from last weekend.
Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation dropped from second place to third place this weekend, pulling in $8.3 million, dropping just 27.5% in its fifth weekend in theaters. The action-thriller has earned $170.3 million so far at the domestic box office, with an additional $309 million in foreign markets for a worldwide haul of $479.3 million, from a $150 million budget. No Escape, a new action-thriller from The Weinstein Company, debuted in fourth place with $8.2 million. It opened in 3,355 theaters this weekend, pulling in a $2,470 per-screen average. It has earned $10.3 million domestically so far, after its debut on Wednesday.
The weekend's final new release, Warner Bros.' We Are Your Friends, failed to even crack the top 10 in its opening frame, debuting in 13th place with a paltry $1.8 million. The dramatic comedy starring Zac Efron opened in 2,333 theaters, with a horrendous per-screen average of $773. Some are attributing the movie's failure for opening in the last weekend of August, when the movie's primary audience, college students, are busy heading back to campus to start a new school year. A recent Rentrak study revealed that over 70% of U.S. colleges were back in session over this weekend.
Rounding out the top 10 this weekend was Sinister 2 in fifth place with $4.6 million ($18.5 million domestic), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in sixth place with $4.4 million ($34.1 million domestic), Hitman: Agent 47 in seventh place with $3.8 million ($15.2 million domestic), The Gift earning $3.13 million in eighth place ($35.9 million domestic), Jurassic World returning to the top 10 in ninth place with $3.12 million ($643 million domestic) and Ant-Man landing in 10th place with $3 million ($169.1 million domestic). While the lovable animated comedy Minions didn't crack the top 10, it did pass $1 billion worldwide ($324.8 million domestic, $694.1 million international), setting yet another box office record for Universal Pictures. The studio is now the first in cinematic history to have three $1 billion films open in the same year, following Jurassic World ($1.63 billion) and Furious 7 ($1.51 billion).
Debuting in limited release this weekend was the zombie thriller Z for Zachariah, which earned $58,000 from 29 theaters for a $2,000 per-screen average, Turbo Kid with $50,000 from 38 theaters for a $1,316 per-screen average, The Second Mother with $28,000 from three theaters for a $9,333 per-screen average and Queen of Earth, which opened with $12,000 from two theaters for a $6,000 per-screen average. The indie Digging for Fire also expanded from three theaters last weekend to 30 theaters, earning $48,000 for a $1,600 per-screen average. Check back next week to see if any of this weekend's indie releases expand into more theaters over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Next weekend brings us the start of the fall movie season, and two new movies in wide release EuropaCorp's The Transporter Refueled and Broad Green Pictures' A Walk in the Woods, opening on Wednesday, September 2. The Transporter Refueled is expected to open in 2,800 theaters, but we don't have an exact theater count for A Walk in the Woods. Also opening in limited release are RADiUS-TWC's dramatic comedy Before We Go, the directorial debut of Chris Evans, who stars with Alice Eve, and Shout Factory's vampire comedy Bloodsucking Bastards from the improv troupe Dr. God, which stars Fran Kranz and Pedro Pascal. Can Straight Outta Compton win for a fourth week in a row? Or will The Transporter Refueled end its impressive run atop the box office? Check back on Tuesday for our full box office predictions for Labor Day weekend, but, in the meantime, take a look at the box office estimates for this weekend.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: