It's been a record-breaking summer at the box office thus far, which has largely been dominated by Universal Pictures. The studio holds three of the top-five grossing movies this year, Jurassic World (#1, $635.9 million domestic), Furious 7 (#3, $351 million) and Minions (#5, $303.9 million), and as the summer season winds down, the studio will most likely squeeze in another box office hit with Straight Outta Compton. The N.W.A. biopic has already scored rave reviews from the nation's critics (92% "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes), which we think will translate to box office success this weekend. It is also going into theaters with a lot of fan awareness, with it's themes of police violence resonating strongly in today's current social climate.
Aside from the rave reviews, Straight Outta Compton only has one real competitor this weekend, Warner Bros.' spy-thriller The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. While that movie is pulling in admirable reviews (68% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes), it is also opening in roughly 700 fewer theaters than Straight Outta Compton. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. does have a higher star-power factor, boasting well-known actors (Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer) and rising stars (Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki) alike, while Straight Outta Compton is comprised largely of "unproven" talent, at least at the box office. Still, with all that being said, Straight Outta Compton will run away with the top box office spot in a landslide, in part, because it's a perfect time for the story of N.W.A. to be told, and, in part, because more people can relate to and identify with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube than Illya Kuryakin and Napoleon Solo.
Straight Outta Compton could very well be the the last big hit of the summer movie season, with many analysts predicting the biopic opening around $40 million this weekend, but we're pegging it at $46.2 million, while The Man from U.N.C.L.E. will pull in $15.5 million in its opening weekend. Another benefit of opening in mid-August is there is less and less major competition throughout August and September, especially since Fantastic Four bombed last weekend. It could very well go strong throughout the fall, but we'll have to wait and see.
Last weekend's top two movies, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation and Fantastic Four, will drop to the third and fourth spots, taking in a projected $13.2 and $10.1 million, respectively. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation will have another spy movie to contend with in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Fantastic Four's underwhelming opening already secured its status as a box office bomb, and it won't get any better in the weeks to come. While they won't crack the top 10, barring a miracle, indie movies Mistress America, People, Places, Things and We Come as Friends are opening this weekend in limited release, and we'll keep you posted on how they fared this Sunday, when the box office estimates are released.
Straight Outta Compton is produced by former rap partners and long-time friends Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. While Dr. Dre has never had much success at the box office, appearing in film as varied as the low-budget remake The Wash and the Oscar-winning Training Day, Ice Cube has proven himself to be a box office draw time and time again. He made his major motion picture debut in 1991's Boyz N the Hood, which helped shape the look and tone of Straight Outta Compton in a lot of ways. And some fans are likely to see the biopic for those nostalgic reasons. Ice Cube also found tremendous success with his Friday franchise. The original film's director, F. Gary Gray, is back behind the lens for the story of N.W.A. Last year, Ice Cube appeared in the hit action comedy Ride Along, which arrived at number one on the box office charts, with a sequel, Ride Along 2 coming this January. He also has Barbershop 3 set for next year, which will continue that iconic comedy franchise. Even though he doesn't appear in the main part of Straight Outta Compton, it's clear that Ice Cube is a box office draw.
And then there is the social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri this week, which is drawing a lot of media attention, as police face off against citizens after the brutal slaying of a teen accused of firing off a shotgun during a protest. N.W.A.'s 'F*** tha Police' has become an anthem on the streets, and interest is at an all-time high in the subject of police brutality. Though it depicts events from over 20 years ago, the message behind Straight Outta Compton is stronger than ever. And people will surely go to the theaters to earn more about this unique band's histories and struggles with authority.
Next week, we'll break down four new movies coming out in wide release, Lionsgate's American Ultra, starring Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg, 20th Century Fox's video game adaptation Hitman: Agent 47, starring Rupert Friend and Zachary Quinto, and Focus Features' horror movie sequel Sinister 2, starring Shannyn Sossamon. Also opening in limited release is Digging for Fire, Grandma, Learning to Drive and She's Funny That Way. Which is these new releases will take the top spot at the box office next weekend? Let us know what you think, after you check out our predicted top 10 for this weekend.
PREDICTED WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: