Weekend Forecast: “Straight Outta Compton” to go Straight Into First Place

As the summer box office begins to wind down, we may see one more surprise hit in the form of rap biopic Straight Outta Compton, the new drama based around the life and experiences of controversial rap group N.W.A. The film has received tons of online attention through its brilliant social marketing (the Straight Outta website) in addition to trailers that do a great job selling it as a fun, exciting look into one of the most famous hip hop groups of all time. It’s kind of hard to estimate how a film like this will do, because despite a large fanbase, how many of them want to see this movie? It’s going to be a hit, obviously, but judging how high on the scale is very dificult. It will also likely be very front loaded as these films typically are, given how reliant they are on fans showing up for opening weekend. If word of mouth is good, however, it could stay in theaters for the next few weeks as a nice late-summer word of mouth hit. Expectations are all over the board, ranging from $30M to $50M or more. It seems as though it will have a solid debut but early expectations will get way out of hand, causing people to label it a disappointment when it has an okay start (aka Unfriended syndrome). A debut in the mid $30’s would be excellent, given that the budget was only $28M. The only title that comes to mind to compare this to is  8 Mile, which opened to $51M (or over $70M adjusted for inflation) while that mark would be insane for Straight Outta Compton, it isn’t entirely outside of the realm of possibility. Still, I’m keeping my estimates in the high $30M range.

Also opening this weekend is The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Warner Brothers’ new spy action comedy adapted from the old TV series of the same name. The film has one recognizable star in the form of Henry Cavill, widely recognizable as Superman from both Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Armie Hammer also stars alongside of him, but he isn’t nearly as recognizable. In fact, his only major role in recent memory was infamous flop The Lone Ranger, but thanks to the fact that he was wearing a mask in almost the entire film its a bit harder to recognize (well, that and no one saw The Lone Ranger but that’s another story) the marketing has done a good job selling it as a fun, retro style spy thriller that almost looks like a live action version of the show Archer, albeit much less inappropriate. There’s only one problem; is it too close to Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation? While this year certainly has an abundance of spy films, these two are a meager two weeks apart, and Rogue Nation is still making a considerable amount of money. Still, the marketing has been solid enough that it will likely have a slow opening followed by lots of strong holds en route to a decent total. The film is also playing in IMAX strangely enough, but it seems as though Rogue Nation is still holding on to most of the showtimes,

Fantastic Four is likely going to have a drop of over 70% based on a few key facts. One, the information about how bad it was has spread like wildfire among the small group of people unfortunate enough to have accidentally watched it over opening weekend. Second, it scored a C- on Cinemascore, meaning that there will be almost no audience for it this weekend whatsoever. Look for Fantastic to only pull in around $6-$7M this weekend.

Predictions

  1. Straight Outta Compton – $41.5M
  2. The Man from U.N.C.L.E – $21.5M
  3. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – $18.6M
  4. The Gift – $7.5M
  5. Fantastic Four – $6.1M

The Bottom Line

Straight Outta Compton is a low budget music drama in August, but given how popular the fanbase is it should be doing at least $30M this weekend. The Man from U.N.C.L.E  has a hefty but not unreasonable $75M budget, and should be doing at least $20M this weekend as a result.

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