“Straight Outta Compton” should again dominate the domestic box office this weekend with early estimates Friday showing a sturdy $26 million at 3,025 locations for its second frame.
If the estimates hold, Universal/Legendary’s N.W.A biopic looks likely to take in double the closest competition — Focus/Gramercy’s launch of horror sequel “Sinister 2” with about $13.3 million at 2,766 theaters.
Paramount’s fourth weekend of “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” should follow with about $12 million at 3,442 theaters. That should top a pair of spy pic openings, with Fox’s “Hitman: Agent 47” set to take around $8 million at 3,100 sites and Lionsgate’s “American Ultra” with $6 million at 2,778 locations.
Yet another spy movie — Warner’s second weekend of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” — is expected to finish ahead of “American Ultra” with around $7 million.
“Straight Outta Compton” is likely to decline about 57% after a stunning overperformance in its opening weekend with $60.2 million, after which took in $25 million more in the Monday-Thursday period. It’s set to cross the $100 million mark on Saturday, its ninth day in theaters, and appears to have plenty of gas still in the tank.
“The film has clearly captured the imagination of moviegoers,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak. “Even if it falls over 50% this weekend, it will still do close to $30 million — which would be a good opening weekend for a film opening in August.”
The performance makes “Straight Outta Compton,” which carries a $29 million production budget, a highly profitable proposition for Universal. The studio is adding locations this weekend to capitalize on the strong word-of-mouth and the film’s momentum.
Dergarabedian noted that the strong performance for “Compton” — which has a Rotten Tomatoes “fresh” rating of 89% — underlines the ability of the marketplace to support a wide array of August releases such as “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “The Help,” “District 9,” “Tropic Thunder” and “Superbad.” August 2014 saw impressive launches for “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
“It’s a tricky time of year because it’s the winding down part of the summer,” he added.
“Sinister 2,” starring Shannyn Sossamon and James Ransome, is showing enough traction to be profitable for Focus — which is part of Universal. The pic about a mother and two sons beset by an evil spirit at a rural house has a pricetag of under $10 million with low-budget horror specialist Blumhouse producing.
The original “Sinister” was a major hit in 2012 with $88 million in worldwide grosses on a $3 million budget.
“Hitman: Agent 47,” which carries a $35 million pricetag, probably won’t perform as well as the 2007 original’s domestic take of $39.7 million. Both films are based on the “Hitman” videogame, with Rupert Friend starring as the secret agent in the new version, which has minimal critical support with an 8% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
Thursday night preview screenings generated less-than-stellar numbers for the trio of openers: “Sinister 2” with $850,000, “Hitman: Agent 47” with $600,000 and “American Ultra” with $425,000. Critical reaction for “American Ultra” has been mixed, with a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as the pairing of Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart has not translated to much moviegoer interest.
As of Aug. 20, the year-to-date box office is 6% ahead of last year at $7.35 billion and 0.3% ahead of 2013, according to Rentrak. Summer to date is 8.6% ahead of last year at $4.09 billion and 7.7% behind the 2013 summer.