Box Office: Zac Efron Getting Outplayed by Faith-Based ‘War Room,’ ‘Compton’

Zac Efron’s DJ drama “We Are Your Friends” is being silenced by the faith-based film “War Room” at the U.S. box office, according to early Friday estimates.

We Are Your Friends” would appear to have few friends heading into the weekend, and will likely finish with a dismal $2.6 million. Projections were as high as $10 million a few days ago.

Meanwhile, the Christian drama “War Room” is showing traction in second at nearly $10 million — double its $5 million forecast.

Straight Outta Compton” will stay at the top of the box office this weekend with about $13 million, while Owen Wilson’s thriller “No Escape” is performing slightly below expectations and should take in about $8 million over the next three days.

Universal-Legendary’s “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about the iconic rap group N.W.A, is showing decent legs heading into its third frame, and should lead the Friday box office with about $4 million. It will wind up the weekend with more than $133 million after 17 days — a stellar result, given its moderate $29 million production cost.

“It continues to generate conversation and excitement, and it’s continuing to benefit from a very good release date,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Rentrak.

Sony’s Christian drama “War Room” launched with $600,000 at 1,017 locations at Thursday preview screenings, obliterating Warner Bros.’ “We Are Your Friends,” which generated a mild $175,000. “War Room” expanded to 1,135 sites Friday and will have the top per-screen average among wide releases this weekend.

“We Are Your Friends,” which expanded to 2,333 locations on Friday, has been aimed at younger women and the electronic music community. It’s a small risk for Warner Bros. given that the studio paid an extremely modest $2 million for the movie at the American Film Market.

“War Room,” which is going out through Sony’s TriStar label, centers on a couple who find the solution to their crumbling marriage in prayer. TriStar scored impressively last year with another faith-based drama, “Heaven Is for Real,” which topped $90 million domestically. “War Room” stars T.C. Stallings, Elizabeth Becka and Noel Baker.

“War Room,” which has a $3.5 million budget, has been the top online ticket seller at the Fandango site, generating more than 30% of sales.

Dergarabedian noted that Sony is benefiting from slotting “War Room” strategically. “It’s a movie that’s going to play well among an audience that’s underserved,” he added.

Should the $13 million estimate hold, “Straight Outta Compton” will become the fourth title this year to lead the U.S. box office for three consecutive weekends, following Universal’s tentpoles “Jurassic World” and “Furious 7,” as well as Warners’ “American Sniper.”

The Weinstein Co.’s political thriller “No Escape,” which opened Wednesday with $1.2 million at 3,007 theaters and adds 343 more locations Friday, should wind up in a battle for third place with Paramount’s fifth weekend of “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” at about $8 million. “Rogue Nation” will likely end the weekend nearing $170 million.

As of Aug. 27, the summer box office total was up 8.18% over last year to $4.24 billion but 7.59% behind 2013. Year-to-date was up 5.77% at $7.5 billion over last year, according to Rentrak.

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