By Daniel Garris
Universal's Straight Outta Compton was strong straight out of the gate this weekend with a first place debut of $60.20 million. The modestly budgeted F. Gary Gray directed N.W.A biopic outpaced its already lofty expectations (as well as Sunday's weekend estimate), which had risen rapidly thanks in part to high levels of online buzz surrounding the film and strong early critical reviews. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Straight Outta Compton registered the fifth largest opening weekend performance ever in the month of August. Making the film's performance even more impressive was that it didn't have higher priced 3D or IMAX admissions to boost its grosses. The film also opened in a relatively modest 2,757 locations, which gave it an impressive per-location average of $21,835 for the frame. Straight Outta Compton opened 45 percent stronger than the $41.52 million debut of last year's Ride Along and 17.5 percent ahead of the $51.24 million debut of 2002's 8 Mile (though it should be noted that when taking into account price inflation the opening weekend for 8 Mile adjusts to $74.12 million).
Straight Outta Compton opened with $24.12 million on Friday (which included an estimated $4.96 million from Thursday night screenings), declined 20 percent on Saturday to gross $19.30 million and declined a slim 13 percent on Sunday to gross $16.78 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.50 to 1. While Straight Outta Compton was somewhat front-loaded this weekend, the film will have a good chance of stabilizing as it goes forward thanks in part to its strong critical reviews, strong early word of mouth (the film received an A rating on CinemaScore and has a current Flixster audience score of 96 percent) and the relatively soft new competition the film will face as the summer season winds down.
Straight Outta Compton had clear four-quadrant appeal this weekend as the film skewed slightly towards female moviegoers (52 percent) and slightly towards moviegoers under the age of 30 (51 percent). Straight Outta Compton marks another very impressive performer for Universal in 2015, as it joins a list of box office successes that already includes Jurassic World, Furious 7, Minions, Pitch Perfect 2, Fifty Shades of Grey and Trainwreck.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation held up nicely this weekend with a second place take of $17.19 million. After leading the box office for each of the past two weekends, the fifth installment of the Tom Cruise led blockbuster franchise from Paramount was down one spot and a very solid 40 percent. Thanks in part to the film's holding power thus far, Rogue Nation has grossed $138.32 million through 17 days of release. That places the film 34 percent ahead of the $103.54 million 17-day take of 2006's Mission: Impossible III and 3.5 percent ahead of the $133.58 million 17-day gross of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is extremely likely to continue to hold up well throughout the remainder of the summer.
Warner's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was off to a soft start this weekend with a third place take of $13.42 million. The Guy Ritchie directed spy comedy starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer opened below pre-release expectations and didn't perform well with its price tag in mind. Opening against Straight Outta Compton and so soon after Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation clearly took a toll on the film. While it wasn't expected to do so, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was unable to duplicate the success of Kingsman: The Secret Service earlier this year, as it opened 63 percent below the $36.21 million debut of Kingsman. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. performed more in line with the $15.45 million start of last year's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. took in $4.80 million on Friday (which included an estimated $900,000 from Thursday evening shows), increased an encouraging 5 percent on Saturday to gross $5.05 million and declined 29 percent on Sunday to gross $3.57 million. The film registered an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.79 to 1. The Man from Uncle received a respectable B rating on CinemaScore. The film's audience skewed slightly towards male moviegoers (52 percent).
The bad news continued for Fantastic Four this weekend as Fox's superhero franchise re-launch attempt was down two spots to place in fourth with $8.17 million. Fantastic Four was down a massive 68 percent from last weekend's already disappointing start. The sharp second weekend decline for Fantastic Four didn't come as a surprise given the film's toxic word of mouth, the competition it faced from the break-out performance of Straight Outta Compton and the Fantastic Four franchise being naturally front-loaded to begin with. Fantastic Four has managed just $42.13 million in ten days. The film is currently running 57 percent behind the $97.46 million ten-day gross of 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
STX Entertainment's The Gift held up far better with a fifth place take of $6.51 million. The Joel Edgerton directed thriller starring Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Edgerton was down two spots and a very respectable 45 percent from last weekend. The Gift continues to exceed expectations with a ten-day take of $23.59 million and is performing nicely with its reported production budget of just $5 million in mind. The film is running nearly on par with the $23.80 million ten-day start of last year's The Giver (which fell 48 percent in its second weekend to gross $6.43 million).