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Straight Outta Compton rakes in $56.1 million to top US box office

Straight Outta Compton

Story by Jack Foley

N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton has shot to the top of the US box office with a whopping $56.1 million, surpassing all expectations.

Produced for just $29 million, and directed by F Gary Gray, the film enjoyed by far and away one of the most successful hip hop themed movie openings of all time, including Eminem’s 8 Mile, which hit $51.2 million in 2002, and Notorious, the story of Notorious B.I.G., which opened to $20.5 million in 2009.

It could yet claim the top opening for a musical biopic as well as the top August opening for an R-rated title.

African-American cinema goers comprised the largest share of the audience, accounting for 46%, but the film also showed real cross-over appeal with most demographics, as well as age groups.

Noting this wide appeal, Nick Carpou, Universal president of domestic distribution, told The Hollywood Reporter: “Our marketing department incentivized people of all ages to check the movie out. We always approached this as going after the most mainstream audience that we could.”

Co-financed by Universal and Legendary, the film stars O’Shea Jackson Jr. as his real-life father, Ice Cube; Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre; Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E; Aldis Hodge as MC Ren and Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella.

While the news was great for Universal and all things N.W.A. associated, it wasn’t so great for Guy Ritchie, whose big budget update of 60s TV classic The Man From U.N.C.L.E got off to a stuttering start with a modest $13.5 million debut.

The spy movie, which cost $80 million-plus to produce and stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, placed third behind Tom Cruise’s spy outing Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which ranked second for the weekend, its third in release, with $17 million, thereby bringing it US total to $138 million.

There is some hope that The Man From U.N.C.L.E may yet pick up some solid business given that audience reaction upon leaving the cinema led to a B rating in the States, which means good word of mouth at a time when the summer blockbuster season is coming to an end.

The US top five was rounded out by superhero flop Fantastic Four in fourth place, with just $8 million added to its dismal opening total, and Joel Edgerton thriller The Gift in fifth with $6.5 million.

Going back to Compton‘s success, and Universal’s continued hot streak, the opening figures mean that the studio has now enjoyed it sixth number one opening this year, and in doing so boosted its 2015 US gross above the $2 billion mark on Saturday, the shortest amount of time in a calendar year that any studio has ever hit that mark.

Next story: JJ Abrams reveals more Star Wars: The Force Awakens plot details