Weekend Box Office: ‘Straight Outta Compton’s $56 Million Opening Is Better Than ‘Mad Max’

I figured Straight Outta Compton was going to destroy The Man From U.N.C.L.E. this weekend, but its massive $56.1 million opening (on a $29 million budget) was way beyond anyone’s expectations. That makes it:

  • The tenth biggest R-rated opening of all time (not adjusted for inflation)
  • More than double the previous best opening for a music biopic (Walk the Line’s $22 million in 2008.

That last one doesn’t count 8 Mile as a music biopic, even though it kinda sorta felt like one, and opened with $51 million in 2002.

For the record, it played 52% female and 51% under age 30. It played 46% African American, 23% Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 6% “other.” [Forbes]

As Forbes points out, that gives it a $43 million opening even without a white person seeing it. A lot of people wondered if a movie about feuding gangsta rappers would bring out the criminal element in theaters, and many theaters even beefed up security just in case. No incidents were reported, and if anyone did stay home to avoid trouble, you wonder how much more money Straight Outta Compton could’ve made if they hadn’t.

Ironically, Warner Bros passed on Compton, which was “considered risky in part because of its racially charged subject matter.” Instead they released The Man From U.N.C.L.E. this weekend, which grossed just $13.5 million on an $85 million budget. And they outspent Universal on television ads:

Warner, which has suffered a string of disappointments this summer, spent an additional $31.2 million on 47 different “U.N.C.L.E.” television ads, according to the analytics firm iSpot.tv. (To compare, Universal spent about $23 million on 29 different television ads for “Compton,” iSpot said.) [New York Times]

I thought Man from U.N.C.L.E. was actually pretty good, but trying to market a reboot of a TV show no one under 50 remembers with no big stars in it is always going to be an uphill climb. I honestly think it even being called The Man From U.N.C.L.E. hurt it, and they would’ve been better off just selling a Guy Ritchie action movie.

Speaking of flops, Fantastic Four earned $8 million this weekend, a 68.75% drop from its already disastrous opening weekend, and on a par with the second weekend drops of Watchmen (67.7%), Man Of Steel (67.9%), X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Elektra (69%). You can read all about that doomed-from-the-start sh*t storm here, but my favorite part was that Josh Trank even managed to piss off his landlord:

As THR reported in May, Trank and his dogs allegedly caused more than $100,000 worth of damage to a rented house in Baton Rouge that he and his wife occupied while the film was shooting there. Sources say now that after landlord Martin Padial moved to evict Trank, photographs of the landlord’s family that were in the house were defaced.

That’s just beautiful. I love it when a landlord/tenant dispute somehow makes it into a detailed box office post-mortem.

This weekend brings us American Ultra, Hitman: Agent 47, and Sinister 2. Hang in there, we’ve got a few more weeks of summer movie doldrums before the awards movies hit.