Sunday, August 16, 2015

'Straight Outta Compton' stuns with $60.2 million, 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' disappoints at weekend box office

Although the summer is coming to an end, the season had one last big hit in it, and that hit was Universal's N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. The true story of the hip-hop group that revolutionized the genre and changed America grossed $60.2 million, which is a hugely impressive number. I expected the film to be big, but this is definitely another important win for Universal. Riding a wave of buzz and good reviews, Straight Outta Compton snagged an "A" Cinemascore from audiences and did all of this in a relatively small amount of theaters (2,757). Compton had a brilliant marketing campaign from Universal that utilized the timeliness of the film's themes (police brutality, free speech) and the superstar power of the group's members (Ice Cube, Dr. Dre). It's a great film and one that I hope continues to see box office success and awards season attention. Chalk this up as another smart move by Universal in a year that has already been quite exceptional for the studio, with hits like Fifty Shades of Grey, Furious 7, Jurassic World and Minions.

Paramount's Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation finished in second place with $17 million, which was enough to raise the film's total to $138.1 million. In all likelihood, Rogue Nation won't reach the heights of Ghost Protocol or Mission: Impossible 2, but strong overseas numbers (the film currently stands at $373.4 million worldwide) and a domestic total around $160-$170 million should be more than enough for Paramount to keep this franchise alive. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's definitely worth a watch.

Unfortunately, Straight Outta Compton and Rogue Nation's success was doomed to hurt some films and this weekend, Warner Bros.' The Man From U.N.C.L.E. took the big hit. The Guy Ritchie spy adventure grossed $13.5 million, lower than even the most conservative estimates. The "B" Cinemascore doesn't hint at a lot of audience support, and the critics didn't go crazy over it either (it landed at 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn't bad, but certainly not great). The film cost $80 million, so Warner Bros. is in danger of a pretty major disaster here. A writedown is probably coming, but hopefully overseas receipts will save it. I'm going to check out the film soon, but I definitely had higher box office hopes for this one.

In 4,000 theaters this weekend, Fantastic Four finished in four place with $8 million. That's laughably bad and a major 68.9% drop from last weekend. The poorly reviewed superhero flick has now grossed $41.9 million off a $120 million budget, which should prove disastrous for Fox. This is honestly one of the biggest fiascoes in recent years. Just insane. The Gift was close behind in fifth place with $6.5 million. The terrific Joel Edgerton drama has made $23.5 million so far- very impressive considering that the flick cost a mere $5 million to produce. This is a hidden gem in a pretty putrid lineup of films, so if you've already headed to Straight Outta Compton and Rogue Nation, this is a film that you should definitely check out. My review will be up soon.

Marvel's Ant-Man dropped to sixth place this weekend and took in another $5.5 million, raising its total to $157.5 million. This will ultimately be one of Marvel's smallest hits, but nobody's crying for them- they've had a pretty solid year. Close behind Ant-Man was Vacation, which snagged $5.3 million. The film has now made $46.8 million, and I have to say, that's pretty disappointing. Right behind that film was Minions, which took in $5.2 million in eighth place. Minions has $312.9 million in the US and currently stands at $957.4 million worldwide. Stunning stuff.

In ninth place was Ricki and the Flash which took a small tumble and made $4.5 million. The Meryl Streep drama has made $14.6 million so far- disappointing, but not surprising because of the indifferent reviews and non-existent marketing campaign. And finally, Trainwreck rounded out the top ten with $3.8 million. The Amy Schumer comedy has made $97.9 million so far and will cross $100 million in the next week.

Next weekend sees the release of Hitman: Agent 47, American Ultra and Sinister 2. Here are my predictions:

1. Straight Outta Compton- $31.2 million
2. American Ultra- $16 million
3. Sinister 2- $14.8 million
4. Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation- $11.5 million
5. Hitman: Agent 47- $8.1 million
6. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.- $6.8 million
7. The Gift- $4.9 million
8. Ant-Man- $4 million
9. Vacation- $3.7 million
10. Fantastic Four- $3.5 million

Image Credits: Forbes, Joblo

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