No disrespect to Straight Outta Compton, but this is more like an August box office. Sure, the last two years have given us more than a few big hits in summer’s final month – Straight Outta Compton, for one. But this is how you know that summer is winding down: when a clutch of mediocre new releases hits theatres only to be shown up by holdovers. At this time last year, Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took first and second place ahead of three new films. The year before that, another three debuts were wiped out by Lee Daniels’ The Butler and We’re the Millers. In 2010, an incredible five new releases were taken out by The Expendables. In fact, you have to go all the way back to Inglourious Basterds in 2009 to find a film that opened in first place on this particular weekend. Summer may not officially end until Labor Day but, looking at today’s box office, I think someone has to step in and call it early.
Of course, the one studio that has no interest in seeing the summer of 2015 come to an end is Universal. Not only can they lay claim to the biggest film of the season (hell, one of the biggest films of all-time) with Jurassic World, the studio has also had three other number one films this summer – locking down first place an amazing seven times in 17 weeks. That includes this weekend, with Straight Outta Compton repeating in first with an estimated $27.8 million. That brings the NWA biopic up to $111.48 million in domestic grosses after ten days. That’s close to the final domestic take of 2002’s 8 Mile ($116.7) as well as the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line ($119.5). So without adjusting for inflation, Straight Outta Compton should be the biggest musical biopic of all time by this time next week.
In second place in its fourth weekend in theatres, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is still going strong. The fifth entry in the M:I franchise has already crossed the $400 million mark worldwide, though it has a long way to go before it catches the previous M:I release. In 2012, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol ended its run with $209.4 domestic and $694.7 million in global earnings.
Sinister 2 is also having some trouble living up to the film that preceded it. The strongest of this weekend’s new releases debuted at number three with an estimated $10.6 million from 2,766 locations. That’s off 41% from the debut of the original Sinister back in November 2012. Sinister 2 is also falling short in terms of its critical response, if that even matters. Horror films are not generally known for their great reviews, but Sinister’s 62% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes was a notable exception. The RT score for Sinister 2 is currently 13%. And while an official budget for the sequel has yet to be released, most reports have it three times higher than the $3 million of the original. The point of these ubiquitous Jason Blum horror pics (he’s also a producer on The Gift, at number seven) is they are so cheap they cannot fail. That may still prove true for Sinister 2, but it’ll take more than three days.
If the critical response for Sinister 2 has been somewhat lacking, the reviews for Hitman: Agent 47 are downright toxic. In fact, at just 7% on Rotten Tomatoes it looks like the video game adaptation has the lowest score of any nationwide release this summer: lower than Pixels, Fantastic Four, and Hot Pursuit, just to put things in perspective. The original Hitman, from November 2007, didn’t score much better with critics (14%), but it did open higher than its sequel. Agent 47 debuted in fourth place with $8.2 million, compared to the $13.1 million of its predecessor.
Bringing up the rear in terms of this weekend’s new releases is American Ultra. The R-rated dark comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristin Stewart had the best reviews of the three new releases (45% on Rotten Tomatoes) but still opened below expectations with $5.5 million from 2,778 locations. That’s lower than the $6.3 million that Sin City: A Dame to Kill For opened with at this time last year, and that has to hurt.
Overall, this weekend’s domestic box office was off 8% from 2014. And without Straight Outta Compton in the mix, things would have looked a lot bleaker. Bleak like next weekend, for example. The Warner Bros. drama We are Your Friends, with Zac Efron, opens on Friday and is expected to earn about $10 million. That leaves plenty of room for Straight Outta Compton to squeeze another victory out of this summer – or what’s left of it.
|1.||Straight Outta Compton||$27,800,000||$111.48|
|2.||Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation||$11,700,000||$157.7|
|4.||Hitman: Agent 47||$8,200,000||$8.2|
|5.||The Man From U.N.C.L.E.||$7,420,000||$26.6|
|10.||Fantastic Four (2015)||$3,650,000||$49.6|