“You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge,” warns Dr. Dre at the beginning of N.W.A.’s landmark debut album, Straight Outta Compton.
Twenty-six years later the F. Gary Gray-directed movie based on the making of that album and formation of the group that included Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella proves that warning to be true with a historic and record-breaking opening weekend.
Thanks in part to an innovative marketing campaign — including an interactive meme that took over social media — and a well-executed media blitz coupled with outstanding early reviews of the film, Straight Outta Compton recouped its reported budget of $29 million by nearly double in its opening weekend, taking in an estimated $56.1 million, a record for an R-rated movie debuting in the month of August.
“It really struck a chord with audiences. It’s a story that is resonating right now,” says Paul Dergarabedian, of movie analytic company Rentrak.. “It was one of those records that was an important work and a very important expression of a particular viewpoint. To this day, that album has so much power.”
Though Universal Pictures (Compton’s distributor) were hoping to hit the $25-30 million mark, the film far exceeded expectations and easily outperformed its nearest competitor, Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which only drew in $17 million this weekend. The only other new entry in the top 10, the big-screen adaptation of 60’s spy comedy, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. bowed with a modest and disappointing $13.5 million take. Confirmed box-office bust Fantastic Four etched out another $8 million for a two week total of $41 million, well below Compton’s opening draw. And rounding out the top five is Jason Bateman’s sleeper hit of a suspense thriller, The Gift, which is the only movie in the top five to play on fewer screens than Compton.
For the full weekend top 10, check out the list below.
1. Straight Outta Compton – $56.1M
2. Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation– $17M
3. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – $13.5M
4. Fantastic Four – – $8M
5. The Gift– $6.5M
6. Ant-Man – $5.5M
7. Vacation – $5.3M
8. Minions – $5.2M
9. Ricki and The Flash– $4.5M
10. Trainwreck – $3.8M