“Straight Outta Compton” could move from gold to platinum territory in its second weekend of release.
The rap drama from Universal and Legendary will continue to dominate the box office, earning an estimated $30 million and pushing its domestic haul past the $100 million mark. That’s a nice return, considering the fact that producing the N.W.A. biopic only set the partners back $29 million. To capitalize on the strong word of mouth, the film will add more than 200 theaters to its current crop of 2,757 locations.
With its unstinting look at urban poverty, “Straight Outta Compton” may be the year’s most unorthodox blockbuster. Its continued success could spell trouble for a trio of new releases hoping to make a splash during the dog days of summer.
Of these new entrants, “Sinister 2,” a micro-budget horror venture from Blumhouse and Focus Features, should be the least impacted. The sequel to 2012’s “Sinister” should pull in $15 million, slightly less than the $18 million that its predecessor racked up in its initial weekend. The film, which cost less than $10 million to make, will unspool across 2,758 locations.
Fox will also try to shoulder in on the tail end of popcorn movie season, unveiling “Hitman: Agent 47” in roughly 3,260 theaters. It marks the second attempt to transform the Hitman video game series into a viable bigscreen franchise. A 2007 effort racked up just shy of $100 million globally.
This one substitutes “Homeland” star Rupert Friend for “Justified’s” Timothy Olyphant as the follicly challenged secret agent who sets the mayhem in motion. The late Paul Walker was originally attached to play the title role, but his 2013 death in a car crash forced the studio to recast. “Hitman: Agent 47” should pull in between $10 million and $12 million when it debuts, slightly less than the $13 million and change that the first “Hitman” made during its inaugural weekend. It cost $35 million to produce.
That leaves stoner comedy “American Ultra” hoping to get a little buzz. The Lionsgate release debuts in 2,700 theaters, where it is expected to generate $7 million. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, who previously collaborated on 2009’s “Adventureland,” reunite for the look at a cannabis-loving sleeper agent who finds himself on the wrong side of authorities. Mellows will be harshed.
That extends to the movie business as a whole. Despite the presence of blockbusters such as “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Minions” and “Jurassic World,” domestic ticket sales may fall shy of record numbers. The current box office stands at $4 billion, according to BoxOffice.com, short of the $4.3 billion in receipts that the industry had hit at a similar point during 2013 — the current highwater mark. In this case, Hollywood will have to settle for second place.
In the arthouse realm, Sony Pictures Classics will field “Grandma,” a well received comedy with Lily Tomlin; Broad Green Pictures will launch “Learning to Drive” with Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson; and the Orchard will push out the offbeat murder mystery “Digging for Fire.”