Nobody was taking a gamble with Straight Outta Compton, the biopic about groundbreaking rap group NWA. Made for less than $30 million, a lot of people hoped it would be good. Nobody, though, expected it to be a big hit. Even its studio played down expectations, predicting that just maybe it might make its money back in the first week.
Well, scratch that. Straight Outta Compton went straight to the top, earned more than double its budget and set a few records for August, including the highest-earning R-rated film for the month’s history. It is also the fourth-highest grossing musical biopic ever and stands a very good chance of finishing as number one. Damn, son.
Proving that, for this weekend anyway, it’s better to be a rapper from Compton than a man from U.N.C.L.E., Universal’s Straight Outta Compton is in the midst of utterly cleaning up at the box office, pulling in nearly $30 million between Thursday night and Friday, and now on track to hit $57 million for the weekend. By comparison, the weekend’s other major release, Warner Bros.’ (rather delightful) The Man from U.N.C.L.E., is projected for a disappointing $13 million for the full weekend.
The Rolling Stone takes a few guesses at why the film is such a surprise hit, so read that if you are looking to ponder its windfall. Maybe the biopic just came out at the right time – it’s a nice break from superhero movies and isn’t loaded to the gills with special effects and crazy stunts. Nothing against those, but maybe audiences want something that is keeping it real, so to speak.
It’s also arguably the biggest hip-hop themed movie since 8 Miles, which came out thirteen years ago. Dr. Dre also has a new album out and hip-hop is bigger than ever, even though most of it sounds like the rappers these days suffer from a cold and speech impediments. This might also be an American phenomenon – it will be interesting to see how Straight Outta Compton does in other markets.
Last Updated: August 18, 2015