Universal/Legendary’s Straight Outta Compton steamrolled its initial $40M-$50M projections this weekend with a $60.2M opening, easily making it the fifth-highest August opener ever. Rival distributors always knew that the F. Gary Gray-directed-film was going to overperform; it was a similar vibe they had during the weekend that American Sniper went wide.
Even more impressive, the musical biopic about hip-hop group N.W.A posted a FSS in tentpole territory, pegging ahead of such August openings as M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs ($60.1M), Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes ($54.8M) and G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra ($54.7M). Compton‘s weekend also outstrips the first weekends of such 2015 summer tentpoles as Ant-Man ($57.2M) and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($55.5M), which were playing in close to 1,200 more venues than the biopic’s 2,757-theater count. Compton attributes its success to a marketing campaign that married an aggressive social media campaign by the film’s talent and prolific producers along with recording industry tie-ins from Dr. Dre’s Beats and Interscope Records. During the 1980s and 1990s, music was always a key ancillary and marketing tool, particularly with song tie-ins. We occasionally see this nowadays, but Uni clearly has not forgotten about how powerful recording industry tie-ins are: Remember, the studio strategically used Beyonce’s Instagram to tease the first trailer, which yielded 100M views across all platforms.
As reported yesterday, Compton reps record openings for producer-director Gray and producers Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Scott Bernstein and EP Will Packer. Legendary co-financed Compton, which carries an estimated cost of $29M before distribution and marketing expenses. UTA packaged Compton with its clients Gray, Ice Cube, Packer, producer Matt Alvarez; thesps Paul Giamatti, Jason Mitchell, O’Shea Jackson Jr.; and DP Matthew Libatique. Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy owns the title as the biggest August opener of all time with $94.3M. Industry estimates originally figured that Compton would be off 20% from its Saturday B.O. of $19.4M, however it only slipped 13% yesterday, raking in $16.5M. Compton had the second biggest theater average among all films this weekend with $21,835, just behind Fox Searchlight’s Mistress America which minted $23.302 at four venues or a FSS of $93,206.