outtafeature

Straight Outta Hollywood:
Why It’s Universal’s Summer

Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

Universal has already had a summer, scratch that—an entire year—which is making every other studio in Hollywood furiously scramble to play catch with their runaway box office success.

With two movies already over $1B—“Furious 7,” “Jurassic World”—and a third on its way—“Minions”—is it any wonder they are feeling pretty confident right now?

Throw in the added bonuses of “Pitch Perfect 2” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Universal is on a hot streak like no other. It’s a scorcher that will continue this weekend as “Straight Outta Compton” looks to be the last sure-fire blockbuster hit of the summer.

The N.W.A. biopic, directed by F. Gary Grey (“Friday,” “The Italian Job”), should easily snag the top spot on the charts this weekend as this is the seminal story in rap history, providing an in-depth look at the movement that started a culture that has since crossed nearly all demographic boundaries.

I mean, I was a white kid living in North Idaho when their first album dropped, and all of my friends were passing around our Walkmans and making copies of “Straight Outta Compton,” “Efil4zaggin” and “100 Miles And Runnin’” and I’m sure the closest most of us had been to Compton was Disneyland.

It was always fueled by the passion and the way they delivered their music. It was electric, and it hit hard in every corner of America and eventually throughout the world.

Truth is, this is an important story that has needed to be told for quite some time, and the fact that Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and the rest of the crew were on board to produce, makes it that much more legit.  And not like MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit.” Just sayin’.

In 2,600+ theaters, expect the $28M film to make back its wad on opening weekend, probably rolling up $40M-50M.  Smoke ’em if ya got ’em. And by “em,” of course, I mean stock in NBCUniversal/Comcast.

On a serious note, Universal has agreed to reimburse theaters for extra security this weekend, as the volatile nature of “Straight Outta Compton” means their will be plenty of uproarious activity in theaters, however, let’s hope that excitement is contained and the only action is on screen and not in the aisles. I just don’t think theater owners could handle another incident right now.

A similar comparison to how this might perform is Eminem’s “8 Mile.” That R-rated film, also from Universal, opened in about the same number of theaters and struck pure gold, debuting with $51M in November of 2002.

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I know there’s a phalanx of memes going around featuring “Straight Outta (Insert Where You Are From)” lately, but Chris Rock and Universal actually beat everyone to the punch in 1993, with the vastly underrated “CB4.”

Straight Outta Locash. Rock rocks it.

CB4 might have even usurped “Magic Mike” with its track, “Sweat From My B*lls.” I’m pretty sure Channing Tatum would want to make a cameo in this video.

This pretty much sums everything up about all things. I still sing this while in LA traffic. Why? Well, it’s the easiest rap ever to remember…and pretty damn catchy, too.

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Lost in the mix of 80s flashbacks is a film that wants you to roll all the back to the 60s, as Warner Bros.—after multiple delays—finally drops their PG-13 TV-adaptation, Guy Ritchie’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” into multiplexes.

While Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer (someone tell me he’s not the second coming of Brendan Fraser) are recognizable, neither of them has been able to carry a film yet, and this doesn’t look like it will make back its $75M pricetag…not in the States anyway.

Overseas audiences might be more hip to this comic action pic, and to be fair, it’s receiving decent reviews…the problem is I just don’t know anyone who really wants to see it.

I said that about “Kingsman: The Secret Service” too, however, this one probably will be lost in the late-summer shuffle as grosses for everything have been trailing off rapidly this August. Just ask #thefantasticfour

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In exclusive release, Fox Searchlight releases Noah Baumbach’s latest meditation on life, “Mistress America,” into 4 theaters, and stars this generation’s Parker Posey, Greta Gerwig…whom he co-wrote the screenplay with.

This is the second film Baumbach has released this year as “While We’re Young” launched in March from A24 and made $7.5M. FYI—one of my favorite indie flicks of the year.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

1. Straight Outta Compton – $48M

2. Mission: Impossible 5 – $18M

3. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – $14M

4. Fantastic Four – $11M

5. The Gift – $7.5M

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CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” (Dec. 25, 2015)

QT is back. Shiiiiiiiit, that’s all you had to say, baby.

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CHOICE CLIP OF THE WEEK: Fox’s “Deadpool” (Feb. 12, 2016)

“Fantastic Four” this is not. Thank God for that. Ryan Reynolds disses DC and brings his nasty hate tactics to the Marvel Universe. Not the Marvel Collective Universe, mind you, but Fox’s alternate reality of Marvel. You know what I mean. This is the R-rated superhero flick a lot of people have been waiting for.

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CHOICE BLIP OF THE WEEK: “Kevin Bacon PSA #freethebacon”

It’s pretty obvious Kevin Bacon is in a lot of pain not being asked to be a part of “Magic Mike.” Hey, that threequel may just happen, and if it does, Bacon will be there…setting free his bacon.

Also, check out Bacon’s latest flick,  Focus World’s “Cop Car,” as it expands into 60 theaters this weekend. But more importantly…take time out to set your bacon free this weekend.

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.

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“Straight Outta Compton” Image Courtesy of Universal Studios; Poster Design Courtesy of BOND