August 15, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Straight Outta Compton” Crowns Universal’s Summer; “Man From UNCLE” Fades


STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (Legendary/Universal) had a smashing start, with preliminary numbers at Deadline giving it $22.8M on Friday (that includes $5M from Thursday night).  With a production budget under $30M and a moderate marketing campaign, Compton will be well on the road to profit by the end of the weekend, providing a finishing touch to its studio’s spectacular summer season.  We’ll see tomorrow how frontloaded that opening was–by way of comparison, 2009’s Notorious fell 10% on its 2d day of release, while Ride Along grew by 16%, so the range is wide.  Two factors that should help are exit polls that suggest strong word of mouth, and an older-skewing audience.  A $50M weekend should be the minimum, putting it in the top 7 August openings ever, and the number could be quite a bit higher than that.  The other open question will be Compton‘s international appeal, which may be limited by its very American subject matter.

THE MAN FROM UNCLE (Rat Pac/Warners), on the other hand, brings a very forgettable summer to its end for Warners, garnering a mere $5.1M on Friday (about $900K of it from Thursday night) that may give it a $15M weekend.  UNCLE wasn’t particularly expensive as big-studio action movies go, with a reported production budget of $80M, but that will become $200M+ once the lavish Warners marketing campaign is added, and a $50M box office total in the US won’t get it anywhere near an escape from red ink.  UNCLE serves as a reminder of how few genuine movie stars there are these days, as neither Henry Cavill nor Armie Hammer (or next-big-thing Alicia VIkander) were able to sell any tickets.

Holdovers were led once again by MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (Skydance/China Film Channel/Alibaba/Paramount), which shrugged off the arrival of UNCLE and declined just 41% from last Friday to $4.8M.  It should have a $16-17M weekend, and is on track to top $170M at the US box office, which would still put it ahead of only MI3 for the franchise.

No one expected FANTASTIC FOUR (20th) to hold well, now that it’s become the poster child for 2015 flops and bringing more entertainment value with its behind-the-scenes rumors than with what was actually filmed.  It sank by 78% from its opening day to $2.5M, and with a $8M weekend and $60M US total ahead, reports are that it will cause at least a $60M loss for Fox–and that’s not counting the devaluation of its franchise strength.

THE GIFT (STX) held far better, down a very reasonable 51% to $2M and likely to have a $7M weekend on costs that wouldn’t have paid for the reshoots on Fantastic Four.  It’s on its way to a tidy $35M US total.  RICKI AND THE FLASH (TriStar/Sony) added 25% to its theatre count, which made its 42% Friday-to-Friday drop somewhat less impressive, but it should still parlay its $1.3M Friday to a $4.5M weekend, and might make its way to a $25M US total.  SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE (Lionsgate) had a fine hold, down just 32% from last Friday, but its numbers are so miniscule that it doesn’t matter much, with a $800K Friday likely to give it a $2.5-3M weekend.

Among older holdovers, ANT-MAN (Marvel/Disney) and MINIONS (Illumination/Universal) are still doing well, with Ant-Man down a diminutive 25% from last Friday to $1.7M with a $6M weekend ahead (but still at the low end of Marvel-produced inventory), and Minions down 32% to $1.5M, on its way to a $5M weekend.  TRAINWRECK (Universal), down 35% to a $1.2M Friday and a $4M weekend, is about a week away from hitting the $100M mark.

In limited release, MISTRESS AMERICA (Fox Searchlight) is likely to have a $22.5K weekend per-theatre average at 4 NY/LA theatres, a fair number, but considerably lower than the results for Noah Baumbach’s last two openings:  a $57K average for While We’re Young, and a $34K average for Frances Ha.  Neither of those got past $7.6M at the box office.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."