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Box Office: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Tracking for $57 Million, Crushing ‘U.N.C.L.E.’

It’s the battle of the initials at the weekend box office, with N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” outperforming “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” “Compton” pulled in $24 million in Friday receipts, putting it on track for a $57 million opening weekend, according to studio estimates.

After grossing close to $5 million from 2,264 screens in Thursday night previews, the Universal/Legendary effort expanded to 2,755 screens on Friday. Directed by F. Gary Gray, the biopic stars O’Shea Jackson as Ice Cube (his father), Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E. Cube and Dre serve as producers, in addition to Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright, Matt Alvarez and Scott Bernstein.

Universal had pegged “Compton” for an opening between $25 million and $29 million, about half the haul it’s now expected to generate. Made on a budget of $29 million, the hip-hoppin’ pic contributes to Universal’s huge year; the studio surpassed the all-time record for worldwide grosses in a year earlier this month, making $5.53 billion off of big openers including “Jurassic World,” “Furious 7,” “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Minions.”

Also playing this weekend is slick Cold War actioner “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” which posted a comparatively modest $4.8 million on Friday night at 3,638 locations, tracking for a weekend total of $13 million.

Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander star in Guy Ritchie’s reimagining of the 1960s espionage TV series. The pic is expected to find a female audience, with “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” and “Compton” occupying much of male audiences. Warner Bros.’ “U.N.C.L.E.” was made on a $75 million budget.

Tom Cruise is reasserting his box office prowess with the fifth chapter of “Mission: Impossible,” which posted $4.9 million on Friday, beating “U.N.C.L.E.” by a hair and tracking to outdo “U.N.C.L.E.’s” opening weekend with a $17 million haul. The Paramount/Skydance release crossed $300 million at the worldwide box office earlier this week.

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