Box Office: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Schools ‘Sinister 2,’ ‘Hitman: Agent 47’ With $26.8 Million

Straight Outta Compton
Courtesy of Universal

Straight Outta Compton” dominated a trio of underwhelming new releases this weekend, providing a little proof of life in an otherwise moribund box office.

The rap drama topped charts for the second weekend in a row, picking up $26.8 million from 3,025 locations and propelling its domestic haul to $111.5 million. That’s a tidy return on the $29 million that Universal and Legendary spent making the film about the early days of N.W.A.

“Straight Outta Compton” hasn’t been without controversy. The film has been slammed for glossing over its members’ treatment of women and the blowback forced Dr. Dre to apologize for his actions. The negative headlines do not appear to be taking a toll on its ticket sales.

Of the new films hitting multiplexes, “Sinister 2” performed the best of an inert bunch. The low-budget horror sequel nabbed $10.6 million from 2,766 locations for a third place finish. That’s less than the $14 million to $16 million that Focus Features, the studio behind the film, had been expecting to pull in, and it also trails the first “Sinister’s” $18 million opening. “Sinister 2” might not make much money, but it cost less than $10 million to make, limiting the studio’s financial exposure. Ticket buyers were 51% female and 57% over the age of 25.

Fox’s “Hitman: Agent 47,” a second attempt to transform a popular videogame series into a successful film one, hit a speed bump, earning a meagre $8.2 million across 3,261 locations. It had been expected to generate $11 million in receipts. Swapping “Justified’s” Timothy Olyphant for “Homeland’s” Rupert Friend as the titular assassin didn’t provide much sizzle, as the latest “Hitman” failed to match the $13.1 million opening of its 2007 predecessor. “Hitman: Agent 47” cost $35 million to bring to the screen, and attracted an opening weekend audience that was 61% male and 60% over the age of 25.

That left Lionsgate’s “American Ultra” as the lowest performing of the newbies. The marijuana-encrusted secret agent film went up in smoke, grabbing $5.5 million from 2,778 locations, and securing sixth place. The film centers on a stoner (Jesse Eisenberg) who discovers he is really a crisped version of Jason Bourne. It reunites Eisenberg with Kristen Stewart, his co-star from 2009’s “Adventureland,” and fielded an audience that was 56% male and 65% over the age of 25.

All three films carried R-ratings and catered to adult crowds, something that may have depressed their results.

“At the end of the day, they cannibalized each other,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s distribution chief. “It’s an unfortunate confluence of events. All three of those films combined would have made a decent opening for any one of them.”

Among holdovers, Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” had a second place finish with $11.7 million. The fifth film in the spy series has earned $157.8 million stateside. “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” an attempt to revive a television show few remembered, earned $7.4 million in its second weekend, edging out “American Ultra” for fifth place. The action film has earned $26.6 million domestically thus far, signaling it will have trouble recouping its $75 million production budget barring a surge in pop culture nostalgia among foreign crowds.

In the art house world, Sony Pictures Classics scored a solid debut for “Grandma.” The comedy about a grandmother helping her granddaughter find the money to pay for an abortion has earned rave reviews for its star Lily Tomlin. It picked up $120,856 on four screens, for per screen average of $30,214.

The Orchard fielded Joe Swanberg’s off-beat mystery “Digging for Fire” on-demand and on three screens where it earned an estimated $24,544.

Broad Green, the newly created distribution company from brothers Gabriel Hammond and Daniel Hammond, launched its first in-house production with “Learning to Drive.” The comedy is pitched at older crowds and stars Sir Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson. It grossed $67,417 from four locations for a per screen average of $16,854. The company was particularly pleased that the film picked up steam as the weekend rolled on, indicating that word-of-mouth is strong. It will expand to four additional markets next weekend.

“We always saw the first three weeks as basically a series of previews,” said Travis Reid, Broad Green’s president of distribution. “We knew the movie needed to get established, because it’s a film that audiences really, really respond to.”

And “Trainwreck” checked an important milestone off its list, as its $2.5 million weekend gross pushed the comedy past the $100 million mark after six weeks in theaters.

Overall ticket sales were down roughly 7% from the year-ago period when “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” were still drawing healthy crowds. The box office is now sliding into a doldrums it won’t be roused from until films like “Black Mass” and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” hit theaters in mid-September.

“It’s a slow time,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at “People are on vacation or generally busy outside, so studios shy away from opening something that they have confidence in.”

Welcome to the dog days of summer.

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  1. Not surprise at all. Sinister 2 should had come out in October. As for American Ultra: Kristen Steward’s wooden acting, people still angry that Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luther in 2016 Batman v. Superman movie, and Max Landis complaining about Hollywood is not interested in original ideas. What is so original about a person finding out that he/she is a secret agent or assassin (Jason Borne.

  2. Justin Burnell says:

    Reblogged this on THB Files and commented:
    I seen the movie “Straight Outta Compton” twice so I’m gonna so see it in many times than the other movies.

  3. lily says:

    Straight Outta Compton is doing phenomenally awesome. Well deserved. Great movie.

    • Oh i so agree with LILY and i will be watching on a repeat several times on DVD when i order it once released! I’m such a fan of how they began,and the whole era late 80s and the 1990s music anyhow so REAL as hip hop USED to be. Now, is more easier,water down bubble gum crap, no REAL struggle imo like they were doin, amazing story! LOVE SOC #StraightOuttaCompton RIP EAZY-E

  4. Sam says:

    Not surprise at all. Sinister 2 should had come out in October. As for American Ultra: Kristen Steward’s wooden acting, people still angry that Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luther in 2016 Batman v. Superman movie, and Max Landis complaining about Hollywood is not interested in original ideas. What is so original about a person finding out that he/she is a secret agent or assassin (Jason Borne. Long Kiss Goodnight ring a bell). Hitman 47 should had been a sequel starring Timothy Olyphant instead of another remake. Even the Man from Uncle will break even and do well overseas instead of these three movies put together.

  5. One Two PUNCH says:

    Straight Outta Compton & Mission Impossible 5 go for the duo three-peat next weekend.

  6. SOC was misogynistic. Somehow people compartmentalized (including myself) and bought a ticket to see it and still thought it was very interesting despite it’s very bad treatment of women in the film. ( I guess this was payback for The Color Purple?) I focused on the rise of Rap as a bona fide musical genre from its humble beginnings. I also got a kick out of the Joe Louis Arena scene in my hometown of Detroit although the outdoor scene did not look like Detroit to me. The Tupas and Suge Knight lookalikes were cool. Snoop lookalike was off base. Why didn’t they show Michel’le Toussaint? I also thought O’Shea Jackson was the breakout star of the movie. And, the acting was pretty good overall. I wonder if SOC will get an Oscar nods? Hmm.

  7. alex downey says:

    sad to see this garbage doing well. just another example of how history wont feature nasty elements of its subjects past.

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